Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in Telecom IT management. He volunteers as a professional and personal mentor, NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer and enjoys competitive tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has 30 plus years teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy served as a Logistics Section Chief on two different United States federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams over a 12 year span. Randy is a 32nd degree KCCH and Knight Templar. His Masonic bio includes past Lodge Education Officer for two symbolic lodges, Founder of the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Education Committee, Sovereign Master of the E. F. Coonrod AMD Council No. 493, Co-Librarian of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, Clerk for the Academy of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, and a Facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. Randy is a founding administrator for Refracted Light, full contributor to Midnight Freemasons, and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy hosts an open ongoing weekly Masonic virtual Happy Hour on Friday evenings. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.
Focus Within the Lodge
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders
We live in a world of constant bombardment from advertisers and noise, and this doesn’t stop at the doors to the lodge. We endure the constant pressure of our Grand Lodges and appendant bodies to increase membership, to enact new programs, to do more. We renew our own efforts emphasizing Masonic activities here, a youth program there, or whatever fits our own interest. I am totally guilty of this with regards to my own interests within the Craft. Is it time for a reset?
The answer lies in our own rituals and how we look at the cyclical nature of Nature herself. We talk about the rule of the day with regularity. We take pride in our patron Saints John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. We even mark the Holy St. Johns by the Solstices with much written about applying that beautiful symbolism in our daily thoughts and prayers, and how we are instructed to treat ourselves and others with love and compassion.
As with Nature, the cyclical nature of ebbs and flows, of wave-like patterns, applies over and over to the Craft. The sacred retreat from the outside world would benefit from more focus from us, definitely including me, toward silence and respect during lodge, and careful contemplation outside of the lodge on being active. The regularity of the Sun and the Moon symbolize the daily tasks we must all accomplish whether working a nine to five job or taking care of family or loved ones. The regularity of that work is important to our own internal accomplishments of providing for the family or giving back to society in some manner. We take too much pride in our charity, yet I encourage us to do more. Do more charity, but let’s tone down the pride and focus on our own internal sense of accomplishment without broadcasting it to the world. Am I guilty here? Well, it is one of the things I decided to work on in the coming year.
Why focus on a year? Again, let’s go back to our ritual and structure of the lessons. The year can be divided in half by the Solstices or quarters when including the Equinoxes. The year can further be divided, although not exactly equally, by the phases of the moon, then divided by the rotations of the planet for sunrise/sunset. Nature tells us there is regularity, and we take advantage of that regularity by marking the progression. We call it Time. Looking at simple project management principles, any complex task can be broken down into smaller tasks, which can then be broken down into individual tasks or actions. We can track those toward accomplishment. We benefit by assigning a goal and putting effort into that action, task, and complex task to make that happen within the cycles we just assigned as time to complete the task. Freemasonry shows us the lessons of project management and time management centuries or even ages before “project management” became a thing.
What does this have to do with the constant bombardment of advertisers and noise? I propose we find ways to keep the advertisers of all kinds out of the lodge room. Unless it’s an educational presentation or announcement of activities, anything other than Blue Lodge can well be relegated to and stay in the fellowship hall or dining hall. We accomplish great things in silence, so let us make that happen in the lodge room with a demand to cease sidebar conversations. How many of us have witnessed a newly raised brother get handed a petition for the appendant bodies as he is first seated among the brethren? Why is the timing of this action not outrageous when the Lodge will likely close within the next half hour? We can reset the focus toward only allowing Blue Lodge within the tiled lodge, and discussion of other interests pushed elsewhere in a fraternal manner of fellowship. We can set the goal, set timely objectives, and revisit the progress often to make sure it happens.