My Sort of Freemasonry
Fortunately, my sort of Freemasonry is practised at my lodge, Lodge Devotion which meets at the Collingwood Masonic Centre (CMC) in the inner city. Believe it or not it is all about “brotherly love, relief and truth”, about fraternal relationships within and beyond the lodge room, and meeting at a suitable venue.
In my time as a Freemason I have been part of many different approaches and types of masonic activities. (I do not call it a career because that need has been well satisfied in the real world). I am persuaded that the provenance of masonic rituals is that of playwrights in, and immediately after, the Industrial Revolution when men for the first time had time to do things other than survive and provide for their families. These men, however, were still largely illiterate so the playwrights invented stories to inculcate in them worthy moral principles. Some may see parallels between that noble worthwhile masonic movement being captured by The Powerful Few, as Christianity was captured in the Third Century by the Romans (Christmas Day replacing the day of the Roman Sun God), which led to the creation of the Vatican and its worldwide hierarchy.
You could excuse some for thinking that there are parallels with the more recent creation of certain largely Marxist political dictatorships, a good organisation captured by a ruling elite. They may see us by community standards as an undemocratic, with mass parades of power, a closed system where some people assume that they are more important than others, and the poor hard working lower class are required to fund the activities of the ruling class. They may also see inefficient “top down” attempted management and “Corporate Governance”, poor policy, tardy reform action: when the exponents cannot even get their own house in order.
Membership of Mark and Chapter brought few surprises to me and did not enhance my feeling of brotherly love. They are fine if you have nothing better to do with your time. I have been in a number of so called Christian Orders (I am still in one and I cannot work out why but never attend) and I must say that in the times of enormous stress in my life, many members were the most unchristian, uncharitable people that I have ever encountered. Membership of these Orders again did nothing to enhance my feeling of brotherly love – but if you have nothing else to do and you want to look important on the higher echelons……! I believe that there should be a Service Agreement including fees for any support Craft Freemasonry provides to these Orders. I then spent a year in a Craft Grand Team but my ego did not demand that I sought more. So none of this was my sort of Freemasonry and the more that I left, the more that I enjoyed Freemasonry with ordinary Brethren in my Craft lodge.
Lodge Devotion is connected to the community with this being the focus of our charitable work, and many members choosing to live in houses nearby with a similar historic ambience as that of the CMC. I love going to one of the local traditional pubs for supper. I enjoy my many fraternal contacts that I make outside the lodge room.
I would be happier if I was confident that that my hard earned money that I am paying to Grand Lodge, that could be better used in my retirement, was being used to fund it activities that directly benefit my kind of Freemasonry. It would incense me if somebody were to enter my lodge as a visitor, particularly if they were to present themselves as being more important and more eminent than my Brethren, and behaved rudely.
However, anyone who wants to practise some other form of Freemasonry, dine like kings and travel, good luck to them but they should pay their own way. Just leave us alone. There is a case for active Grand Lodge Officers to pay an annual Honorarium scaled according to rank for the privilege of appointment to office.
I think that we all and the fraternity would all be better off if we just got back to basics.