Is Your Lodge A Carrot, Egg or Coffee?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM

A few weeks ago, I attended a class and the class leader read a piece entitled “Are You a Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean?”. The piece was meant for personal reflection, but I began to wonder if this same premise could be used to gauge the condition of a lodge?

The essay is about a young girl who feels her life is hopeless and confides in her mother on how she feels, that she can’t go on with life. Her mother takes her to the kitchen and boils three pots of water. In each pot, the mother places carrots, eggs, and ground coffee beans. Once each one has finished boiling the mother places each into a bowl.

She told her daughter to touch the carrots. The daughter noticed that the once hard vegetable was now soft. The mother then told her to reach into the other bowl and begin to peel the egg. The daughter noticed how the once liquid center of the egg which had been protected by its hard shell was now hardened. Her mother told her to pick up the third bowl and smell the coffee. The girl smiled when she picked up the bowl and smelled the aroma of the now freshly brewed coffee. 

After looking at each bowl, the daughter confused asked her mother what the point of this display was.

Her mother told her daughter, " one knows how they will react until tested by adversity and difficult situations." She continued, "Some people, like the once hard carrot, will turn soft when troubles come. Others who seem to be fragile will toughen when things get difficult. Some people are like the coffee, when the tough times come, they change the boiling water into something pleasant."

Much like a fingerprint or a snowflake each Masonic lodge is different. They each have their own personality, history, and traditions. In good times most all lodges will thrive and prosper, but when tough times begin to arrive on a lodges doorstep, you will begin to see how a lodge will react.

A lodge with weak leadership and with no direction will see its membership begin to decline; their building will become derelict and sadly, in some cases, the lodge may survive for a while, but without a change in direction the lodge will become soft like the carrot and cease to exist.

Another lodge may be just as strong in good times but if something happens to disrupt the harmony of the lodge or if they experience a crisis, they may react in a totally different way. Unlike the lodge we compared to as a carrot in the example above, the members of a lodge may, in a stressful situation throw a lodge’s harmony to the sideline and instead of working together, the members may begin to argue and start blaming each other for the hard times the lodge has to endure. 

Many times the membership, if they don’t drop out due to the arguing and finger pointing, will begin to form factions and instead of working together. They will work on their own solution or do their best to destroy the opposing faction's attempts to run the lodge or curb the adversity. After a while the angry words and finger pointing lead to hurt feelings and much like the boiled egg, the membership will begin to harden and not attend meetings which leads to suspensions of non-payment of dues because his view of the Fraternity has hardened. After a while the egg lodge, much like that of the soft carrot will cease to exist and will soon become just another footnote in a Grand Lodge proceedings book sitting on a shelf, while their once proud building becomes another empty building the inhabiting city has to decide the fate of.

The third lodge is just like the other two. In good times the Brethren meet in peace and harmony, they have a steady stream of new candidates who become engaged and really are an integral part of the workings of the lodge.

Some men love ritual, so they endeavor to become ritualists and help the lodge with degree work. Others love to cook, so they spend their time preparing nutritious and delicious meals for members and guests who visit their lodge. Other men are good with their hands and gravitate to the building committee to help keep the roof over their Brethren’s heads.

While each man leads with his strength, they all gather together for such things as Masonic charity, helping their elderly membership or their lodge’s widows or helping to provide a joyous Christmas morning to the children of a Brother, who just lost his job and needed a little help during hard times. Since each man is happy serving in his own way, there is less arguing about how things are done in the lodge and really, they work together for the common good.

Since they all work together, the membership of this lodge, like the coffee beans, will be able to convert what one sees as adversity into a challenge, and when the bubbling waters calm, what is left a stronger and more pleasant liquid that everyone can enjoy.

Brethren, I am sure each of us who have circled the Masonic altar a few times have seen examples of each of these types of lodges. All of these lodges have the same chance of surviving hard times it’s how they decide to react to the boiling water which determines their fate.

It’s just my opinion but a lodge that embraces Masonic doctrine partially or completely, disregards the doctrine in its entirety. They tend to do this in order to recruit new members which makes these lodges equitable to a house of cards. When will it fail? But if a lodge builds a sound foundation on Masonic teachings, values every member and their talents, then uses those member's talents to their fullest potential (Not just sticking him in an officer line and move him up until he is Master or worse yet just quits attending), a lodge can not only weather any storm but much like the coffee beans in boiling water will become savory


WB Bill Hosler  was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.


  1. Hi,whatever you have stated is true and applicable to all, including The Pitt Mac Donald Lodge,where I am a P M.Well written and sensible,and will asdvise our brethren to read.Thank you brother Bill Holster!
    This is from bro.K M Sukumaran.

  2. Educative and inspiring. Thank you W.Bro


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