The Seven Greatest Mistakes

In my blog today I want to write about what I consider to be the Seven Greatest Mistakes made by both Mankind and Freemasonry.

First the Seven Greatest Mistakes of Mankind

 1. Wealth without Work

We don’t not value something which comes to easy, such as a child that receives a toy as a gift will quickly lose interest in it and toss it to the side. But the child that does chores to earn his allowance in order to buy the toy that he wants will cherish it for an extend period of time.

 2. Pleasure Without Conscience

There is nothing wrong with enjoying life. While every person has a right to pursue what will

make him happy, a lack of conscience in his dealings will only lead to suffering.

 Pleasure without conscience leads to alcoholism, adultery, gambling addiction, and other personal injuries.

 3. Knowledge Without Character

 A wise man may be able to benefit society, but if he lacks a character worthy of emulation he will never have an audience.

If a man has knowledge, but is conceited because of it or uses it immorally or for his own gain then he is worthless and his knowledge will be lost.

4. Commerce Without Morality

The man that cheats and defrauds his customers may initially make some money, but he will lose everything when the truth about his actions is revealed.

5. Science Without Humanity

Scientific discovery used for the destruction of humanity rather than for its benefit, is a waste of man’s reasoning skills. Technology such as nuclear power offers incredible benefits for those who use it properly, but has caused great anxiety because it was first used for violent purposes.

6. Worship Without Sacrifice

 It is good to worship, but if worship is unaccompanied by sacrifice no self-improvement is made.

 This does not mean that lambs must be slain and burned as an offering, but that divesting ourselves of some of the unnecessary aspects of life—which is a sacrifice—produces the fruit of worship.

7. Politics Without Principle

A firm understanding of politics will allow a man in office to accomplish anything he pleases.

However, if it is used without principle it only serves to corrupt the government and enslave the masses.

In a similar vein to the above I would know like to discuss the Seven Greatest Mistakes of Freemasonry. 

1. Ritual Without Meaning

Too many times, we are more concerned about performing the ritual perfectly without understanding what it means. Ritual for the sake of tradition is worthless. Ritual for the sake of enlightenment is valuable.

An understanding of the ritual’s meaning is far more important than just memorizing it. 

2. Fellowship without Frivolity

Whenever Masons decide to hold a function for fellowship, a discussion typically ensues about how to make the function have the smallest impact on the lodge’s finances and the wallets of the members. This results in paper plates, meager meals, boring and less well attended events. To spend money wisely in order to make fellowship a grand time is wise for the lodge that wants to be successful.

Also we do not have to be slaves to form, endlessly repeating the same toasts and replies – we should reward individuality and creativity in order to keep our meetings alive and fun! 

3. Quantity without Quality

A lodge with seven great men that believe in the Masonic ideals and actively strive to improve  themselves—and therefore the lodge—is far better off than a lodge with one hundred men that show up to lodge  just to be seen.

4. Education without Philosophy

Many times, we think of Masonic education as being a lesson on the local lodge’s history, a famous Mason, the history of the world wide fraternity, or how to do the ritual properly. But if no philosophy is covered in Masonic education, then little self improvement is accomplished.

Discussing Masonic lessons in terms of philosophy, ideas, and a man’s conduct is what truly transforms men into Masons. It is important to discuss topics that are foreign to a lodge’s membership and it is sometimes even necessary to challenge our preconceived ideologies through Masonic education. 

5. Charity without Connection

Big charities often require that fund raisers be conducted and large checks written to the people that actually perform the charity. This type of charity offers no self improvement because it has no real connection to us or our life. 

If we extend our hands to our needed Brethren and devote our own skills and time to their problems, then we are engaging in true, meaningful charity.

6. Frugality without Discretion

Frugality is not a tenet of Freemasonry, a cardinal virtue, or a Landmark. It is acceptable for the lodge to spend its funds on worthwhile activities that will enhance the Masonic experience of its Brethren.

Not everything should be done in the cheapest way, a habit to which we have become accustomed. 

7. Leadership without Competence

A man does not deserve to be master of the lodge, chapter or preceptory solely because he has spent a certain amount of years attending meetings or because he is next in line. We elect our leaders without any regard for the skills that they possess in order to function in that capacity.

We should only elect competent and qualified men to preside over us.

I propose that by living our life’s according to these 14 principles we would be well on the way to perfected ourselves as Human beings and as Freemason’s.

Freemasonry and Christianity

There is a sad misconception within some mainstream churches, as well as in some much smaller ecclesial societies, that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christian belief and practice. Some even state very publicly that it is impossible to be a Christian and a Freemason. Let me state from the outset that I and many other Christians, both lay and ordained, have found that the one compliments and sustains the other. The Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth, are totally in keeping with Christian teaching, as is the charitable giving exercised by all Freemasons – many hundreds of thousands of pounds are given on a regular basis by lodges to many different charitable causes. You name it, Freemasons support it very generously indeed.

Some claim that there is an outright denial of Sacred Scripture within Masonry – a total misrepresentation! The Scriptures are hailed as one of the ‘Great Lights of Freemasonry’, and an open Bible sits in pride of place within every single Lodge. As Masonry is open to all men (admittedly men only, although there are some women’s Masonic Orders) who have a belief in a Supreme Being, whatever their faith, God is referred to as ‘The Great Architect of the Universe’, and where there is a multi-faith membership within a Lodge, the Sacred Torah, the Holy Qu’ran, or the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, might share a place with the Holy Bible, individually and collectively referred to as ‘The Volume(s) of Sacred Law’.

Anyone who has difficulty accepting the Masonic description of God need simply refer to the Psalms where many references can be found to the Creator, for example “laying the earth’s foundations”, and there are constant references in Masonic ritual to God’s supreme love and care, as well as to our duty to Him.

The first question a candidate for Masonry is asked as he enters into the ceremony of initiation is “in whom do you place your trust?” Unless the candidate freely answers, “in God”, then his entry into Masonry cannot proceed. As the initiated Mason progresses, if he wishes to, through some of the higher degrees of Masonry, he must profess faith in the Holy Trinity, and in Christ as ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’. Seems quite Christian to me!

Some people are under the impression that part of the promises made by Masons on their initiation take the form of ‘Blood-oaths’. This is a total fallacy. In Masonic legend, there were indeed some pretty gory penalties, but I can promise that never in my Masonic career have I pledged to allow myself to be disembowelled, to have my throat cut, my tongue ripped out, or to have any other body parts forcibly removed, if I betray Masonic secrets. The ‘ancient penalties’ are alluded to during Masonic ritual, but they are certainly not part of any oath or obligation.

Which brings me very nicely to the much-hackneyed claim that Freemasonry is a ‘secret society’. This is utter nonsense. The fact that we are Masons is never something that we would ever want to conceal – far from it. Any Freemason will proudly wear a lapel badge that proclaims his membership, perhaps the famous ‘Square and Compasses’, or perhaps a ‘Forget me not’ badge, which became a symbol of the oppression of German Masons during the Holocaust, when many thousands of our brethren were killed by the Nazi regime. Yes, we have our secrets – but they are the signs and tokens of recognition uniquely kept between Masons and they are no more sinister than keeping one’s banking PIN a closely guarded secret.

As a Christian, I have found that Freemasonry affirms my Christian life, and especially my ministry as a priest. It provides support, friendship, affirmation, and encouragement that would be envied by any ecclesial body, and I defy anybody who is not a Freemason, and who condemns Freemasonry as ‘Unchristian’, to prove themselves worthy to criticise. I am proud to be a Christian, proud to be a Freemason, and especially proud to be a Christian Freemason.

Written by Fr Paul (A Christian Freemason)

http://www.holyangelsportsmouth.ik.com/p_Freemasonry-_the_truth.ikml

Re-posted with Permission

The Spirit of Brother Robert Burns

In order of the Celebration of Scotlands most famous Freemason, I thought it would be nice to republish this address given by Brother Reverend Doctor Fort Newton, Past Grand Chaplain, Iowa, USA.  He gave this address in proposing the toast “To the Immoral Memory of Brother Robert Burns” at the Burns Meetings of the Scots Lodge, No. 2319 EC on 24th January 1918.

We are met this evening, as I understand it, just to love Robert Burns and one another.  Somehow I feel that Burns would rejoice to be here, for he love more than all else that festival that was half a frolic and the feast where joy and goodwill were guests.

The social magnetism of his spirit found its way into his songs, and we feel it to this day, and he was nowhere more happy, nowhere more welcome than in the fellowship of his Masonic Brethren.

Higher tribute there is none for any man to say, justly, that the world is gentler and more joyous for his having live – and this was true of Burns, whose very name is an emblem of pity, joy and the genius of fraternity.  And it is therefore that we love Robert Burns, as much for his weakness as for his strength, and all the more for that he was such an unveneered human being.

If he was a sinner, he was in that akin to ourselves, as God wots, a little good and a little bad, a little weak and a little strong, foolish when he thought he was wise and wise, often, when he feared he was foolish.

It is given but to few men thus to live in the hearts of their fellows; and today, from Ayr to Sydney, from Chicago to Bombay, the memory of Burns is a sweet perfume.  Yet, more that a fragrances, it is a living force uniting men of many lands, by a kind of Freemasonry, into a league of liberty, justice and pity.

If ever of any one, it can be said of Robert Burns, that his soul goes marching on, striding over continents and years, trampling tyrannies down.  He was the harbinger of the nineteenth century, the poet of the rights and reign of the common people, whom, it has been said, God must love because He made so many of them.

That which lives in Robert Burns, and will live while human nature is the same, is his love of justice, of honesty, his touch of pathos, of melting sympathy, his demands for liberty, his faith in man, in nature and in God – all uttered with simple speech and the golden voice of song.  His poems were little jets of love and liberty and pity finding their way out through the fissures in the granite-like theology of his day.  They came fresh from the heart of a man whom the death of a little bird set dreaming of the meaning of a world wherein life in woven of beauty, mystery and sorrow.

Such was the spirit of Robert Burns – a man passionate and piteous, compact of light and flame and beauty, capable of withering scorn of wrong, quickly shifting from the ludicrous to the horrible, poised between laughter and tears – and if by some art we could send it into all the dark places of the world, pity and joy would return to the common ways of man.

Long live the Spirit of Robert Burns, may it grow and glow to the confounding of all unkindness, all injustice, all bitterness.

He haunts his native land
As an immortal youth;                 
his hand Guides every plough                   
His presence haunts this room tonight                         
A for of mingled mist and light                 
From that far coast

 

His feet may be in the furrow, but the nobility of manhood is in his heart, on his lips the voice of eternal melody, and in his face the light of the morning star.

Robert Burns