Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The new Indianapolis Masonic Temple website was officially launched tonight, with much more to come soon.
I am incredibly excited about the new direction the Temple Board is headed. Every Indiana Freemason has a stake in the ownership of this, the Grand Lodge headquarters, and we will be making some exciting announcements soon about new projects that are underway. The 100th anniversary of this building will be in 2010, and we are committed to making sure it will be a place of which we can all be justifiably proud.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The International Order of Gnostic Templars will be holding a Holy Grail Pilgrimage and Conference in July in Glastonbury, England. Featured speakers will be Henry Lincoln, Nicholas Mann, Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, Andrew Sinclair, and Christopher Knight. Read all about it.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Wbro. Stephen Dafoe, editor of Masonic Magazine and Templar History Magazine has relaunched a terrific resource for Masonic education. MasonicDictionary.com is billed as "a daily lesson in Masonic Education," and includes 550 entries and 1200 pages from some of the best sources of Masonic history and wisdom of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially from long out of print issues of The Builder Magazine.
As a part of the dictionary, the Knights of the North contributed 26 essays on a variety of Masonic topics, and we have our own section.
I was privileged to be allowed to participate in this project. If you are so inclined, check out Boring Our Members To Death, Whatever Happened To Masonic Pride, and a joint article with Brother Steve Schilling, Stated Meetings and Entered Apprentices. Don't just stop with those. Check them all out from Apathy to Zeal.
And many thanks to Stephen for providing this terrific resource once again. Masonic websites are in almost every case a money-losing, time-consuming sump of resources for the lone webmeister. Stephen has devoted hundreds of hours to his sites, and deserves much praise for his work.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Hey! I just lost 12 pounds on the "Get the Flu At Masonic Week!" Diet!
I'll swear I caught it from the French contingent. It's all that cheek-kissing they do.
Seriously, Masonic Week was great this year, and it's always great to see faces from literally around the world. According to my friend Roger Van Gorden, there were at least 14 Indiana brethren present. Our own PGM Mike Brumbeck is the president of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial this year. Larry Gray was advanced to Grand II Pillar of the Grand College, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest. Indiana's Deputy Grand Master Duane Vaught was elected Treasurer General of the High Council, Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, and Roger was elected 1st Vice-President of The Philalethes Society.
I had an opportunity to have lunch with Janet Wintermute and a group of Masons from the MasonicLight Yahoo list. Janet is actually a Broad Ripple HS grad, and word has it that she appeared in a Discovery Channel documentary about the Masons this past week, discussing female Masonry. It was great to connect a name with a face in the case of Eric Diamond, whose work I have enjoyed for several years now.
The Allied Masonic Degrees remains the fastest growing appendant body in Masonry, with more than 8.000 members this year. Congratulations to the Indiana contingent and the honors and accolades they received. With Roger as the new First VP of the Philalethes Society, look for an upcoming event here in Indiana that I think you'll find to be of great interest.
Thanks to the many brethren who stopped by and picked up a copy of Solomon's Builders. It was great to be with Brent Morris, Art DeHoyos, Mark Tabbert, Dick Curtis, Richard Fletcher, and so many others. A special thanks go to Billy Koon and Frank Boner, for all they do for Freemasonry and this weekend, and also for their graciousness in allowing me to engage in a little pushcart economics with no advance notice.
But what is always gratifying to me are the brethren who come up and say that they read Freemasons For Dummies and joined a lodge because of it, or that they gave it to a friend and it convinced them to petition a lodge. That is the biggest thanks of all.
New friends get made every year during this event. Reed, Jenna, Justin and Steve at their first Masonic Week.
BTW, I had a chance to pick up a new copy of Volume III of Jan Beaderstadt's On the Wings of the Double Eagle, which covers the last of the degrees of the AASR-NMJ's degrees. I have heard pro and con about these books, but whatever anyone's opinion of them may be, the good Reverend has done what the Scottish Rite NMJ has refused to do, which is to offer some kind of follow up to the degrees. And, in spite of the 2004 tinkering with the rituals, he has managed to revise the books and keep up with it. As year after year goes by, I do not understand why the NMJ provides no follow up to its members. We present these degrees in a whirlwind fashion, and give the new member no other way to ponder their lessons other than to press them to join the cast and get a script. And that's just wrong.
The hot spot this year was Shelly's Back Room, right across from the Hotel Washington, and very cigar friendly.
I was too sick by Sunday to even set foot on an elevator ("Throwing UP, sir?!) We stayed though until Monday, and drove home through the snow storm. There was a good 8 inches on the ground by the time we pulled into the driveway at dawn this morning - I'm not sure how we made it. God love Alice - now she has it too, so we're both convalescing.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I had the honor of being a part of the workshops for the 150th annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska this past week in Kearney, Nebraska. The brethren of Nebraska were exceedingly gracious, friendly and fun, and I had a fantastic time. Many thanks to the folks there who helped make it a great couple of days (you guys have a gem in your Grand Lodge office in the form of Michelle, in case no one told you lately).
My very special thanks go to Most Worshipful Brother Scott Krieger, GM in 2006, and his wife Tammy. I met them last year as I visited grand lodges in Iowa and Minnesota, and I owe them both a tremendous note of thanks for their kindness and their warm welcome. Nebraska had fine leadership last year with Scott at the helm, and Nebraska's Masons can be proud of their accomplishments. What I saw and heard during their Grand Lodge session make it clear that the men poised to lead Nebraska's Masons into the future truly have vision and commitment.
Congratulations to their new Grand Master, MWBro. Dean Skokan. He promised all assembled lodges that he would grant dispensation for almost anything to allow them wide latitude to experiment, innovate and find new solutions to the problems that plague them. His quote was "You can't steer a parked car. This fraternity has been acting like a stubborn mule for too long. I'm here to kick it in the ass." Bravo, my friend.
I was especially honored to share the stage during the workshops withBrother Akram Elias, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. If you saw A&E/The History Channel's program, Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington, Akram co-produced it with Richard Dreyfuss and wrote the original treatment for the show.
Brother Elias presented his program, Unveiling The Masonic Symbolism of Washington, DC. I assure the brethren, there was no advance collusion between the two of us, but it sure seemed like it as he touched on topics I brought up, and Solomon's Builders certainly covers much of what he spoke about. If you haven't seen Brother Elias' program, he is a powerful speaker, with an exciting and powerful viewpoint concerning Freemasonry and the founding of America. The most stirring thing he said touched the hearts of every Mason in the room. "I was born in Lebanon," he said. "I am an American by CHOICE, not by birth. I choose to be an American because of this Great Experiment created by Freemasons."
The Grand Lodge banquet was enlivened by almost 600 people performing the 7 traditional toasts, which expanded to about a dozen before it was over, with *YIPE!* real wine and real firing glasses, making a great show of the proper cannon fire procedures, which became big, loud, noisy and hilarious by the end of the evening. It was the one and only Grand Lodge banquet I have ever attended that people hated to see end, and truly had a wonderful time.
Again, many thanks to the Masons of Nebraska and to Brother Akram as well, for the many new friendships I made this week.