Lighten Up Francis

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer



With apologies to our ever-patient editor, Robert.

I recently enjoyed a discussion with some of the other Midnight Freemasons, regarding page views (which is the only solid metric we have to measure our success) and how we had noticed a correlation between the depth of the topic discussed and the amount of viewers that we reached. Of course, if you’ve ever been involved in any organized Masonic education, you’ve had this discussion too; in fact, the Nebraska Grand Lodge Education Committee has it ever year when we’re planning our topics!

As educators, we all want to dig deep into the guts of Freemasonry and teach how it ticks, but unfortunately this turns off many of the people we are trying to reach, who would much prefer something lighter and more easily digestible. Those few scholars who do brave the depths of our more advanced topics are rewarded with a wealth of knowledge, but the more average Mason wouldn’t get past the headline “A Judeo-Christian Examination of the Middle Chamber Lecture”. (That was not a random example, it’s a paper I’ve been dying to write)

As entertainers (and let’s be honest, that is a part of our job as well), we are under the constraint of giving the public what they want, even at the cost of sacrificing some of our deeper esoterica. If we do our jobs perfectly, you will be entertained, and you will learn something in the process. If done poorly, we either write something fun with absolutely no substance, like we’re the pop musicians of Freemasonry, or we write something so dense that nobody can understand it, like modern day Albert Pikes.

The issue becomes this: what level do we write at, to pull in new viewers, to keep our current readers coming back, and to bring back viewers we may have lost. Does that sound familiar? What if we substituted “viewers” for “brothers”? Isn’t that the same issue that most of our lodges are having right now? In my Scottish Rite valley, it is referred to as “The Three R’s”: recruitment, retention, and reinstatement.

In education, if you’re very lucky, you have someone with a big-picture view to balance out the needs of the viewers with the needs of the writers, and we’re blessed to have an editor who keeps us in line but still gives us the freedom to write what we want, and for that I am infinitely thankful.

So, now I’m going to turn the question around to you: what do YOU want to see here? We have this great feedback section at the bottom of every post, we would love for you to use it!!! Let us know if there’s something you want to read about. If you read one of our papers and want more like it, tell us. If you think we’re completely wrong about something (it happens more than you think), tell us. Page hits is only a useful metric to track how many eyeballs we reached, but what we really want to know is how many minds did we reach!

~AT

WB. Bro. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at adam@wcypodcast.com. He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!

6 comments:

  1. I would love to see more about the compass and square and how it came to be and the deeper meaning it may represent. Is the compass sun rays is the square guide to some timeline of nature?

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  2. Crickets... I think you guys are doing a pretty good job. You *could* go a little more in-depth on some things, maybe have a monthly (or twice a month) "deep" post.

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  3. I am a little bi est but I would prefer something diving into sacred geometry not just the normal stuff but Pythagorean and how to use it in every day life. Meet upon the level, by the plumb, and part upon the square. Tell me why

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  4. I'd like to see that paper on the Middle Chamber!

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  5. You should write whatever you feel like writing. I don't mind a little deep reading. It's a good exercise for the mind. Anyway, Masonry is deep.

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  6. Touchy subject. We are more constrained by our Sacred Oaths than we are anything else. It is a fact that to attempt to satisfy the curiosity of the masses is to necessarily violate the Obligation of our 1st degree. The greatest of composers will allude to the association of a topic to its Masonic reference without blatantly declaring it as such.

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