Sunday, November 30, 2008

About Masonry

I received an anonymous comment:

"Masonry is so fantastic, and I have always enjoyed it, no matter where I am."What, exactly, is so "fantastic"? BY the language and tone you use to express yourself, it would sound as if Masonry is a festivity.What, exactly, is so "fantastic"? How are you "participating," and what exactly does "participating" mean? "

This is an interesting posting, and it sounds like the individual is interested in Masonry. I have lived all over the world- Germany, Mozambique, France, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan. I have worked from Maine to California. I enjoy Masonry, in virtually every place on earth. My participation varies- some locales have no organized lodges. I attended a German-speaking lodge in France, and I attended a Russian-speaking lodge in Moscow. Anywhere on this planet, I am welcomed as a brother.

Is Masonry a "festivity"? Well, in some instances it is. Many lodges have a "festive board" which is where they serve refreshments. This can be anything from barbecue sandwiches on paper plates, to a four-star gourmet meal, served in a Paris restaurant. To fellowship with good and decent men, from many economic and social backgrounds, is indeed a festivity.

The level of participation varies widely, depending on my personal situation and the means available to participate in Masonry. I lived in Columbus, Ohio for one year. While there, I went to Masonic lodge meetings only a couple of times. I did however, participate in the Shrine. I was in five Shrine clubs, and president of one of them. I was doing some Shrine activity every weekend.

I lived in Al Asad, Iraq for one year and four months. There was no working lodge there, but I did start a Masonic "Square and Compasses Club" ,where we met twice a month, and discussed Masonry, and we fellowshipped. We did not do any degree work in the club, but we did assist several of the Marines and civilians, with locating lodges back in the USA, so that they could pursue Masonry, upon their return.

When I return to the the USA in 2010, I intend to participate in Freemasonry, and the appendant bodies. I will join a lodge near my residence (Alexandria, VA), and I will participate in the Alexandria Scottish Rite Valley (chapter). I also intend to re-activate my Shrine membership. I was made a Shriner, at Kena Shrine Center in Fairfax VA in 1988, and I have always had a fond memory of the Shrine there. (The Shrine is NOT a Masonic organization, but it is a a club of men who are Masons.)

I also plan to establish an "affinity lodge". I want to set up a "Lodge of the Arts" patterned after a similar lodge in Seattle, Washington. I plan to set up a lodge that meets on Saturdays at noon. We will stress education in the arts, and the arts in education. We will hold fund-raisers, and support various arts programs in the Northern Virginia area.

Masonry is like the "ink-blot" test you take in the psychologists' office. You see in it what you want to see. If you wish to learn more about Masonry, and how much fun it is, I suggest you contact your nearest Masonic lodge.

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