Lodges are interesting things. They can do anything or they can do nothing. It is upon the members to proactively and willfully engage in activities to better the communities in which the lodge resides. I have heard it said that Monday Night Football (or more generally, television) killed the Lodge. I know of folks who, during football season, are never found in lodge. Even in the age of Tivo, watching a game live is somehow more important than Lodge. I can't hold it against them, as it is upon each person to place the importance of Lodge in their own lives. We might each have our opinions, and may be able to justify them well, but in the end it is upon each person to make their own choices.
But I provide a different angle. While we might, all too often, get upset or annoyed with people who place television on a higher level than attending Lodge and engaging with the brethren. Perhaps it isn't as much their fault as we might think. Sure, they could assign more value to Freemasonry to the point that they show up and record the game (Though not a sports fan, that's what I do to shows I enjoy that come on Monday evenings). However, what are we, as a lodge, providing to gain and hold that value judgment? Who are we to offer a dwindling and degraded product and demand they prefer it because of some things said in a ritual years or decades ago? Lodges have largely gone from being a vital and integral part of the community, with great and important fellowship, to arguing about bills twice a month after eating a rather dull thrown-together-at-the-last-moment meal (In fairness, the brother who cooks at my lodge does a wonderful job, probably the best I eat all week).
My point is, who are we to complain about a lack of attendance when what we provide is of immensely little value? We are to build one another up and give support while we develop ourselves into what God wants us to be, yet too often we complain about what to do with money and shoot down any ideas that involve helping in the community, bowing before the stereotypical cranky past master.
It is one thing to complain about problems, but another to provide a solution. Put another way: Simple people whine, leaders solve. Here is my solution: Be the fix. In the cartoon-movie Robots, a common theme was “See a need, fill a need.” Be the solution to the problems you find. Are people not coming to your lodge? Engage them directly, but not in an accusatory way, to find out why. What is missing from the Lodge experience that they sought? What would it take for them to come back? Then, when you have compiled your list of what is missing (I would wager you find the same 5-10 items repeated), find a way to make them happen. Then make sure these brothers know that it is happening. At that point, if they return you have made a great work better. If they do not, then they were being dishonest and their lack of involvement is upon them, not you. You won't help everyone, but that is never cause to not help anyone.
Brother Tech is the author of A Christian's Perspective on Masonic Symbols: The Square and Compasses. He is an active member in the craft, loves motorcycles and prefers to remain anonymous.