Thursday, January 17, 2008

To-do list item #7 - Completed

I've managed to finish up another item on my to-do list that I posted previously. This item was to ask the lodge to financially sponsor any brother of the lodge who would like to take the Masonic Education Course. The Masonic Education Course is a six part course provided by the committee on Masonic Education for the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. This course focuses on ritual, masonic rules and regulations, and traditions. This is a mail-in course that can be either sent to the brothers by mail or email.

I've found that the biggest reason why brothers don't take advantage of this program is the relatively tedious task of signing up for the program. The GL of CT requires a six dollar fee for the costs of printing and mailing of the material. I think a lot of brothers get dismayed at the prospect of finding their checkbook, an envelope and a stamp, filling out the application and mailing it out. We all suffer from procrastination at times and many brothers put off signing up for the course. Many Masons may label these brothers as "lazy." I really don't think throwing around negative adjectives like this helps the situation. So, instead of writing off these brothers as slackers, I decided to take action. I printed out twenty applications and asked the lodge to send out one big check for all brothers interested in taking the course. I then offered to have lodges of instruction, where we would go over the course as a group. Last night, I had nine brothers sign up for the course.

The reason why I bring this up in a post is because I would like to point out a negative trend I've seen on the Masonic internet. There are many online brothers who are quick to judge the actions, ability and intentions of their fellow brothers. I see many brothers who purport to be "good" masons, but look down their noses at the brothers that are not as "good" as them. Many of these brothers show disdain for other Masons that aren't as active or who are not interested in furthering their Masonic Education. To me, this is unmasonic.

Masons are builders. When we see a problem, we build a solution. We don't sit around and complain or judge. We act. A better world is not made with words. It's made with long hours with your brothers, personal sacrifice and dedication to helping your brothers.

I saw that Masonic education was lacking in my lodge. I could have sat on my high horse and blogged about how ignorant my brothers are or how lazy they are. I could rail against the hypocrisy of these brothers. But to me, there's no positive reason to do this. Instead, I found a way to extend my hand and aid my brothers in learning more about Masonry. I'm not perfect and I never will be. But, I try to live life by the golden rule. Do onto others, as you would like done unto you. Put yourself in the shoes of your brothers and ask, "Would I prefer words of scorn or an out-stretched hand?"


Tom Accuosti said...

The GL of CT requires a six dollar fee for the costs of printing and mailing of the material.

Oh, I thought it was to pay for the goose quills and parchment >:-\

Last year I sat in on a meeting to discuss how to turn that course into a protected Word or Excel document and simply email the things back and forth. I have another brother in my lodge who was working on a way to run it into a Flash quiz.

I understand that they turned it into an Excel doc and some people have been emailing it. But they still charge for the Pony Express... er, postage.

M.M.M. From the North Eastern Corner said...

That is exactly the reason I have never done it. Every time I download the form from the G.L. website to sign up and print it out somewhere between the printing or filling out I have never got to the check book stamp stage. I am such a e-Mason. Where's paypal? Online checkout? Gentlemen we have the technology!
Bravo to you Charles in taking action!

Charles Tirrell said...

Some of the guys in my lodge have been bouncing around the idea of paying for dues via paypal. We're hoping to have it implemented in the next two years. First, we need a secretary who knows how to use the computer. We got him to stop using his manual typewriter last year :)