Saturday, February 07, 2009

Masonic Clubs

by RmOlano
Hanford Lodge No. 279 (CA)
12Feb06 (Snow Storm Charles)

With the exception of Masonic Clubs in places where there are no Masonic Lodges exists such as in Diego Garcia, Bahrain, UAE and other places, possibly drawn by something lacking in their own Lodge, the brethrens often finds Masonic Clubs attractive for many reasons. Non masons such as wife, girl friends, co-workers can attend, semi-formal gathering, lunch break activity, etc.. are some of the unique atmosphere that makes it appealing. However, for brethren who cannot find time to attend the stated meeting or degree works, it seems strange to find one’s availability of spending time in Masonic Club. We all heard the complaints about boring meetings, long monotonous degree works, but yet brethren found moment to attend and enjoy their Masonic Clubs. The question we could then ask is what makes our brethren forgo the regular Lodge and choose Masonic Clubs instead? What makes physicians, carpenters, police, firefighters, college friends or brethren with same nationality form their own group and separate themselves from the rest? Is this a human reaction to circle the wagon for mutual defense or a tint of elitist corporeal and mental faculty to flaunt around?

No one, especially this writer contends that Masonic Clubs should be banned. No one in their right mind living in a democratic system of government would ever come close of proposing that idea. As it was said before with the exception of places where regular Masonic Lodges are not established, Masonic Clubs does offer a competition for the most valuable commodities of man--- time. And here lies the challenge to our regular Lodges, the leadership must offer something that would attract their membership back. Every man is unique and prudently must be treated individually. However, given that multitude of reasons can be given as an excuse for dropping off, human beings looks for the appreciation for the contribution of his particular skill(s). The honest acceptance in a voluntary group might be the key for holding his interest.

Do we really believe that because the District Inspector mandated that all Lodge Officers must attend the School of Instruction was the reason why brethren attend such events? Brethren showed up because they like to be there. They enjoy the company and looks forward to the evening of camaraderie. Masonry is a voluntary activity, no rules nor do solemn obligations make its members stay active other than him. No implied or direct threats from anybody even from Grand Lodge itself will make individual Mason to “like” to participate and “enjoy” in Masonic activities.

In the context of brethren participation to both, one can draw a notion that the proliferation of Masonic Clubs is an indication of something is eroding and vanishing from the local Lodges. The time honored rituals and its accompanying lessons in Freemasonry are not obviously being work in Masonic Clubs. Therefore, it could be argued that many other Craft illustrations and Masonic etiquette were not given emphasis thus were not practiced. We are living in a time of fast-foods, ATM, cell phones where time, distances were non-issue and human-machine interactions were just part of normal way of life. The Lodge is a rare place where civilities are expected during its transaction of business. When properly done, time stand still during opening and closing rituals. The actions and words spoken in the rituals within the Lodge convey Mysteries in Freemasonry---Lessons in Life. Masonic Clubs conduct its business like other organizations such as Lions, Rotary Clubs and the likes. While they have worthy causes and aims, the Craft encompass more than they could offer.

This article is not about putting culpability on Masonic Clubs for “taking away” brethren’s time from the regular Lodge but rather provoking a thought for brethren members of the club. As a member of the Craft, what are we truly seeking which could be found in place beyond our regular Lodge? Of what are we in search of ?


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