Yesterday, on a Grand Lodge Facebook page, a Brother expressed an opinion. It wasn’t very eloquently expressed, but he simply pointed out he didn’t like being called "bro." The traditional way Masons address each other is “Brother” not “Bro.” It was a pet peeve. It wasn’t something I’d probably share on that venue, but I didn’t think much about it because I understood exactly where he was coming from. We are a fraternity steeped in tradition, and those titles we use in addressing each other are a form of showing respect for each other. And I share with him an opinion that too many Masons don’t show proper respect for our traditions and ritual. Like Masons that show up for a Masonic funeral in jeans, or don't bother to turn off their phones prior to a Masonic meeting (and then answer a call during the meeting). So I got what he was complaining about--a lack of decorum, respect, and reverence for the Fraternity and what it represents. And in truth, I don’t like being called “bro” either and I’m not exactly some stodgy old curmudgeon—as far as I’m concerned it’s the same as being called “dude.” What surprised me was a number of comments on that benign post—so I decided to read them.
It was disappointing. Instead of letting this Mason share his opinion, and give a moments thought to where he might be coming from, what the vast majority of more than fifty Masons did was ridicule him. They made fun of him and his petty little pet peeve. It was the equivalent of a 21st century stoning. Several of those Masons that participated in humiliating that Mason I know quite well. It was disappointing to see, and something I see far too often amongst Freemasons in these groups. This is something I expect to see on a political page, not on venues hosted by enlightened freethinkers.
I'm sure everyone that participated in that exchange thought they were absolutely hilarious, making jokes at his expense. But how do you think that made that Mason feel?
It’s easy to talk the talk, but not so easy to walk the walk. Being a Freemason means more than giving lip service to a bunch of old outdated ideas, concepts, tenets, and morals. It means we should be applying them to our lives on a daily basis because those ideas are the gateways to a far superior way of life, and a much more civilized manner of interacting with our fellow mankind. We even talk about the interactions we have with each other in our rituals. They’re not just words, they’re meant to be instructive.
How should Masons meet? How should Masons act? How should Masons part?
One of the insults that were hurled towards the Mason who shared his opinion on that post was “and we wonder why Freemasonry is dying.”
Let me tell you something, Brother. It’s not him. If Freemasonry is dying (which is a belief I don’t share), it’s because too many Freemasons don’t practice what they preach.