Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't buy this book!!!

Three months ago, my lodge placed a huge order at Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company. Most of this order was to replace aging ritual materials and to give our last ten Past Masters their PM aprons that we traditionally give. As my lodge resident bookworm, I was able to place a series of books on this list to help our lodge with leadership and organization. We pretty much bought every book on the subject that Macoy has and I've been slowly reading through them, gaining a fair amount of insight.

Then, I began to read Masonic Action Teams by Ronald J. Cottman. From page one, this book was boring and nonspecific. It approached Lodge leadership from typical management principles. It was very strange, every topic seemed extremely general, as if lodge was just a word. This book also completely lacked any of the proverbial masonic wordage and rhetoric. Page 3 of the book focused on how Lodge teamwork was a Biblical Theme, quoting several specific biblical pasages, none of which had a building or stoneworking theme. Again very strange.

Finally, I came to page 7 and the reason for the oddness became crystal clear. On this page, Cottman writes this line, "Further, the seven-day-a-week activity schedule advocated by Lyle Schaller in his book The Seven Day a Week Lodge^1 is becoming a reality." The book that Cottman references was completely foreign to me. I had never heard of it and I have read a far amount of books on Masonry. Luckly, Cottman referenced this sentence with a footnote, so I checked it out. Here is the footnote "Lyle E. Schaller: The Seven Day a Week Church: Addington Press, Nashville, 1992" Now, why was the book called "The Seven Day a Week Lodge" in the paragraph, but "The Seven Day a Week Church" in the footnote? I checked the web and in fact "The Seven Day a Week Lodge" doesn't exist, but "The Seven Day a Week Church" does.

That is when it dawned on me. I was reading a book on Church membership not Masonic membership! The author must have written a book on Church Membership and it couldn't sell, so he used a simple find and replace function in his word processor and replaced the word "church" with the word "lodge" and the word "paster" with the title "Worshipful Master." Find and replace usually doesn't work on footnotes, so it didn't get replaced. Now the book made complete sense.

He never talks of masons, he only spoke of "lodge members," which could have been "church members" previously. At one point, he mentions "lodge doctrine." I didn't know we had a real "doctrine." This sounded like the term "church doctrine" to me. Finally, I found the definitive proof that I had read before but didn't notice. On page 4, Cottman writes:

"In Corinthians 1:17 Paul states that Christ did not send him to baptize. He sent him to proclaim the gospel. In other words, Paul's job was that of a preacher. His statement here emphasizes that no single preacher or teacher is a complete link between God and people. Christian ministry should be a team effort that includes both Staff and Lay believers."

It looks like Cottman didn't use a find and replace on "christian" or "ministry." He also didn't bother to proof read his blatant mockery of scholarship. This was truly pathetic, it looks like he couldn't make money off of his religion, so he tried to make it off Masonry. Now here is the worst part, he says that he is a mason, when he thanks a Brother Bob De Santo for editing his "work" in his introduction. This was truly a scummy action, trying to pawn his non-selling book on church membership off on his "brothers" just to make some cash. Truly pathetic.


Widow's Son said...

Excellent bit of sleuthing there, Brother.

Google shows that a Ronald J. Cottman also published a few engineering management textbooks and handbooks in the early and mid-1990s. Wonder if it's the same guy?

Widow's Son

Tom Accuosti said...

Bro. C, I hope you sent a note to Macoy's to let them know about this. Not so much to get them to remove it from their list, but so that other brothers can be aware of the situation in case they are thinking about buying it.