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