Thursday, March 06, 2008

'Change is good but anarchy is not'

My long-time respect for Bro. Greg Stewart, a California Mason and the publisher of the Masonic blog Masonic Traveler and the excellent Masonic knowledge base, has grown to new heights after he posted a few moments ago a call for reason, decorum and brotherhood in the comments section to a recent article here.

The comments on that article, as well as on several others here in the past week or so, have turned rather nasty, with lots of name-calling and ad hominem attacks by brother against brother.

I'm glad to have as readers of this blog not only Bro. Greg, but of two of the most polarizing, extremist e-Masons the world has ever seen: Bro. Jeff Peace and Bro. Theron Dunn. These two men's thoughts and positions represent opposite ends of the Masonic spectrum. When they clash, sparks fly. A good debate inspires me, and I enjoy reading the written sparring between these two when they remain civil. Unfortunately, things lately have deteriorated here (and probably elsewhere, I don't know) into something resembling a high-school free-for-all on the playground. Lots of mud and dust and "oh, yeah!?" from the participants, a lot of "my way is the right and/or only way!" and a whole of lot hurt feelings, or at least the dredging up of old wounds. Reason, as Bro. Greg points out, seems to have flown from the participants.

I'm not above it, either, though I've stayed out of the fray these past few weeks. I have Masonic battle scars, too, but I've aired them, come to grips with them, and have tried to move on.

Bro. Greg's comments should be required reading for every Freemason who frequents this or any other Masonic-themed blog or forum where these kinds of "disagreements" break out.

Bro. Greg wrote:
Enough is enough....

Ok, enough of this. Both sides. If truly this is a Masonic-inspired forum then this is not the way to represent Masonry. Disagreement is one thing but reason is the temple in which we practice. As this dialogue continues, the reason seems to have flown from all involved.

To assume the ills of Modern Freemasonry rests solely at the feet of the Grand Lodges and their leadership smacks the face the work our brothers have done before us. Degrading that work and insulting anyone based on those blind opinions is wrong minded. Each of us, as participating members of our lodges have a say in what ever our leadership does, only its our choice to say it or not. The institutions we inherit from those who have come before us is what it is, always a work in progress just as each of us are the imperfect ashlars, always shaping until the time we are called to the celestial lodge. But as it is forever imperfect, WE need to keep working at it, not bantering on who's hitting too hard, or whose chips are flying to far.

Halcyon is going through its own battle. The brothers there who feel ousted can pursue the necessary courses, through Freemasonry or through the legal courts, but it was a change in direction that their present day participating leadership felt was necessary. It was action. It was change.

So, individually, like any system, if you don't like the way it works then change it, from within or without. Just stop throwing stones and slurs; it's juvenile and does nothing but build animosity, barriers, and resentment. There are systems in place to check the powers, exercise them. Vote, participate, write laws, and become engaged. Venting on the sidelines only builds frustration for everyone. Remember the allegory of the beehive: unless you contribute, you are as worthless as a drone. So contribute. Do something. Effect change.

Sure, this is a blog, a Third Wave medium of opinion and commentary, but it is still a progressive means to influence opinion and moderate perceptions. Banter like this polarizes and alienates everyone. Is that the goal here?

I know this will single me out, and probably stir some resentment towards me, but enough is enough. Change is good but anarchy is not. Revolution can be good, but it also hurts people too. As Free-Masons or Freemasons we are still BROTHERS, and should act like BROTHERS, which includes a level of civility and decorum. We don't have to like one another or agree, but like any civil conversation, there needs to be a degree of respect, otherwise, it's still just sideline banter that is as useful as the position it's being delivered from.
Image: A tracing board created by Bro. Greg Stewart. Used with permission.

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  1. I think it depends on how you define anarchy. Tolstoy's thoughts on the matter were rather lucid.

  2. "I'm glad to have as readers of this blog not only Bro. Greg, but of two of the most polarizing, extremist e-Masons the world has ever seen: Bro. Jeff Peace and Bro. Theron Dunn."

    Aw-I don't even get a dishonorable mention? Keep it up, fellas-we need to be entertained! WS probably won't remove your comments.


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