Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Guest editorial: Repulsion, revision, revolution, and reformation

Repulsion, revision, revolution and reformation by Diogenes

Much of the behavior exhibited these days in Masonic forums can only be described as repulsive. When people exhibit so little regard for each other's thoughts and concerns, it isn't just an embarrassment to Masonry, it's an embarrassment to all of humanity.

A common complaint is that Masonry hasn't kept pace with the times, and needs to be revised. Indeed, even the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, has recently "revised" its rituals to eliminate the last vestiges of Albert Pike's work. I don't know if that makes the ritual better, but it's certainly less "ancient" than it used to be.

It seems to me, however, that Masonic "revision" is really just "evolution"; progressive changes over time, adopted to meet changing circumstances. When such changes occur quickly, or when they involve institutions rather than living entities, the term "revolution" is often applied, which in a nutshell, is really just institutional "evolution."

That said, I believe the phenomenon we're witnessing in American Masonry today can best be described as "Masonic reformation." It's very similar in motivation and philosophy to the "Protestant Reformation," ushered in by Martin Luther when he posted his list of "grievances" on the door of his local church (the "bulletin board" of its day).

From the time of Christ until the Protestant Reformation, Catholicism was the only "mainstream" and "officially recognized" form of Christianity. People who chose not to acquiesce to the authority of the Catholic Church, were not recognized as "real" Christians, and were widely denounced and persecuted by those who chose to remain subservient to the established authority.

Today, after hundreds of years of hostility and bloodshed, most Christians seem to have learned to tolerate different "denominations." A few still insist that theirs is the only "true" church, but most seem to accept the idea that people can arrive at the same salvation through different denominations, just like they can arrive at the same destinations in different types of automobiles.

How long will it take for Masons to realize that no one has an exclusive copyright on Freemasonry, or Masonic philosophy, and that no one has a right to point fingers and unilaterally declare that others are "clandestine," "bogus," or "fake"?

Will wars have to be fought, or blood have to be shed? Shall we go on witch hunts and vilify common "enemies" to unite us, or can we find room in our hearts, our minds, and our lodges to embrace our similarities, and set aside the petty differences that divide us?

We can all say what we want about brotherhood and brotherly love, but our actions will always speak louder than our words.

— Diogenes

Image: Diogenes, mid-17th century, by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, from Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

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  1. I am in total agreement. Those of us who left the Blue Lodge system went through a period that felt like a real bad divorce. It has been emotional,mentally draining, and hurtful.
    Yes I ahve been caught up in it to but its time to cut the ties that bind.
    I think we are evolving into a new level now. Yet the name calling is much worse now and it will only serve as total destruction to Masonry if its not stopped. Everyone must chose his path the others must allow each man, MASON to chose it for himself and stop the petty senseless fighting.

  2. I truly find all this bickering interesting, yet dumb. As a Mason, I find the path very esoteric in nature. It’s pretty hard to find fault in the journey we all must tread towards enlightenment. Masonry has given us a wonderful map filled with depth and insight. All one has to do is focus on the map and begin the journey. The concerns within the brotherhood tend to focus on the exoteric problems of the Lodges, and sadly so. Go back inside Brothers!
    Brother Arthur

  3. Wow brothers this is really embarrassing for BOTH sides. Neither side "won" this fight, in fact each side looked equally petty. The only people who won are the anti's.

  4. I'm a little confused as to what the desired outcome of all this mess was.There was enough mudslinging on both sides of this debate (if you can even call it that) to make a guys head spin. I find the bickering senseless, but was not surprised to see this sort of climax at all. What does surprise me is that it took so long. It seems to me that one side of the story has been told for so long that there was a build up of pressure, until it exploded. In the end we all take responsibility for our action, but the innocent bloggers that stand behind the hotheads poking them with a stick should take responsibility for their actions as well


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