Freemason Tim Bryce.

Recording Minutes

I recently received an e-mail publicizing a “webinar” on how to keep minutes for a meeting. At first I thought it was a joke as I consider such a task to be rather simple and obvious. Then again, although I had written numerous minutes over the years for a variety of organizations, it occurred to me there are a lot of people who haven’t. The obvious is not always obvious, and perhaps the producers of the webinar were on to something.

As I am a writer and have done this type of work for many years, let me give you my spin on how to keep minutes. First, do not trivialize the keeping of minutes. It is an official recording of the actions and decisions of an organization and, as such, has legal ramifications. Consequently, I recommend you become more intimate with how meetings should be conducted. To this end, you may want to obtain a copy of “Robert’s Rules of Order” and keep it nearby for reference purposes. I also recommend attending a course in Parliamentary Procedure. Regardless of the advice derived from these sources, you must also be cognizant that not all organizations observe such protocol and, as such, you should become intimate with the governing documents of your organization, such as its bylaws. There may also be some specific rules and regulations in your state for how minutes are to be recorded and maintained. Aside from this, just like about any other document, there are three basic parts to recording minutes: a beginning, a middle, and an end.

The beginning specifies the 5-W’s:

WHAT – defining the proper name of the organizational body. If it is a committee, subcommittee, or subsidiary of another body, be sure to denote the superior entities.

WHERE – specifying exactly where the meeting occurred, including street address, city, state, zip code, name of building and room number (if applicable). I also happen to include the telephone number, e-mail address, and web address if I happen to know it.

WHEN – the date the meeting occurred including the starting and ending times, and any breaks during the meeting.

WHO – the officer(s) running the meeting, along with their titles. Some organizations require keeping track of all attendees. For this, you might need to perform a roll call or require a sign-in sheet, either of which should be attached to the minutes.

WHY – defines the purpose of the meeting, e.g., board of directors meeting, general meeting, committee meeting, etc.

The middle section represents the chronology of events during the meeting. Hopefully, the person chairing the meeting will maintain control and not allow it to become a free-for-all which complicates recording minutes. It is also hoped the chairman is operating with an agenda which provides structure for the meeting. The agenda should include sections such as: Opening, Committee Reports, Awards, Correspondence, Old Business, New Business, Closing, etc. This provides a convenient road map for the person keeping the minutes and represents the various sections of the document. However, if there is no agenda and the meeting runs out of control, you’re on your own.

Throughout the meeting, there will be people making motions, some important, others rather trivial. Regardless, you must record all motions. When doing so, make sure they are as clearly worded as possible to avoid confusion later on. It is common to identify the person making the motion in order to assure the person is a legitimate member of the organization and is entitled to make such a motion. The person making the “second” is less important other than to be identified as a legitimate member of the body. Identifying the person, therefore, is considered optional. Depending on the nature of the motion, you can either indicate the motion passed or failed (or possibly “tabled” until another time), or list the number of votes for and against (and abstained).

Discussion on motions can become rather lengthy and heated. As such, it is advised you avoid including a description of the discourse unless specifically instructed by the chairman to take note of something. Always remember, you are a recording secretary, not a stenographer. More importantly, concentrate on the outcome of the debate in terms of what was resolved.

During the course of a meeting, a report or paper may be introduced that has a direct bearing on the organization itself or a particular motion, such as a committee report, treasurer’s report, an important letter, etc. In addition to making a motion to accept such a document, a motion should also be made to attach it to the minutes and become a part thereof.

If money is collected during the meeting for a specific purpose, be sure to personally count the money, record the amount and denote the purpose for receiving it. For example, if someone makes a donation to a specific charitable cause, state the name of the person, the amount donated, and the charity to receive it.

The ending is rather easy as it denotes the name, title, and signature of the person recording the minutes. It is also a good idea to have the minutes countersigned for validity by the senior officer present, such as the president or chairman.

Remain objective in writing minutes, do not editorialize. Avoid the temptation to say something was “good” or “bad.” For example, “Sam Smith gave an excellent lecture on…” Instead, write something like, “Sam Smith gave a lecture on… The Chairman thanked him for the presentation.” In other words, stick to the facts and do not embellish.

Recording minutes is a relatively simple matter to perform, it just requires a good agenda and someone who can competently write. Working with the senior officers of an organization, I help prepare the agenda in advance of the meeting. Consequently, I am able to assemble a set of the minutes in advance and make minor adjustments to them during the course of the meeting. In other words, I establish a template and fill in the blanks.

After the minutes have been recorded and approved, they should be filed in chronological sequence, normally in a binder or folder. Some organizations require minutes to be permanently glued and bound in hard cover books. Again, consult your governing documents for specifics. However if they are to be physically stored or archived, take precautions for their safeguard, such as from fire, water damage or acts of God.

My only other recommendation for recording minutes is, if it looks like the chairman or senior officers haven’t got a clue as to how to run a meeting, and many do not, have somebody else write them.

Maybe there is a market for training people in how to record minutes. “Who’da thunk it.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemasonry and Religion: Adversaries or Allies?

compasssquare2

Through Freemasonry, however, I have had opportunity to break bread with good men of other than my own Christian faith. Freemasonry does not promote any one religious creed. All Masons believe in the Deity without reservation. However, Masonry makes no demands as to how a member thinks of the Great Architect of the Universe. Freemasonry is, for all its members, a supplement to good living which has enhanced the lives of millions who have entered its doors. Though it is not a religion, as such, it supplements faith in God the Creator. It is supporting of morality and virtue.

Freemasonry has no dogma or theology. It offers no sacraments. It teaches that it is important for every man to have a religion of his own choice and to be faithful to it in thought and action. As a result, men of different religions meet in fellowship and brotherhood under the fatherhood of God. I think that a good Mason is made even more faithful to the tenets of his faith by his membership in the Lodge.”
– The Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

I remember the horror in the eyes of my Irish Catholic in-laws when they discovered I had become a Mason.

According to them, the Masons were responsible for all of the union problems over the years and were not to be trusted. I also remember the shocked expression on the face of the rector of my Episcopal Church when he found me participating in a Masonic funeral service at the church. Fortunately, he was a little more understanding and asked me about the fraternity. Up until then, he had been suffering under the misconception that Masons were anti-Christian. Obviously, these are not isolated incidents, overcoming misconceptions is something Masons have grown accustomed to over the years. I guess it goes with the territory. Even in our degree work we are charged not to get into arguments with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule us. I have to question the validity of this charge in today’s world. True, Masons like to maintain a low profile, but make no mistake about it, the fraternity is still under attack by religious institutions, which hurts us by clouding the minds of the public and affects our membership.

Read: Freemasonry, The Religion of Not Being a Religion

Let me say unequivocally from the outset that Freemasonry is not a threat to religion. Instead, it is probably one of the strongest proponents of organized religion. To become a Mason, a person must believe in a supreme being; an atheist is ineligible to join the fraternity. This criteria is not done to contest the candidate’s beliefs as it is to act as a litmus test of the moral fiber of the person. I have personally seen men of many different faiths initiated into the fraternity; Christians, Jews, and Muslim. Following this, talk of religion (and politics) is barred from discussion in a Masonic Lodge so that it doesn’t cause any contention and discontent between members. True, we offer a nonsectarian prayer to open and close a Lodge, but this is essentially no different than what military chaplains offer in the field and offends no particular faith.

If you were to ask what religion Freemasonry adheres to, you might as well ask what political party we support (e.g., Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, Independent, etc.). Frankly, such talk is inconsequential as it is simply not discussed. This is a key reason why Masons enjoy harmony in the Lodge. We may not agree with each other’s religious beliefs but we respect the individual’s right to practice his own faith. This is called “religious tolerance,” something more people should practice. Opponents to Freemasonry believe the fraternity should be used as a bully-pulpit to preach the gospel of a particular religious denomination and try to convert people to their point of view. Hogwash. This is not what we are about. This is a fraternity; a Brotherhood that promotes fellowship, morality, charity, integrity, citizenship, honor, and brotherly love. The ultimate aim of Freemasonry is world peace and harmony, not world domination as some critics argue.

Another gross misconception of the fraternity in the middle East is that Freemasonry originated from Judaism. This misunderstanding is the primary reason why the offices of the Grand Lodge of Turkey was bombed a couple of years ago. Again, this is self-inflicted ignorance as preached by religious extremists/terrorists in the middle East. If you go into any Masonic Lodge you will find a “Volume of Sacred Law” on the Lodge’s alter to represent divine guidance. In those Lodges where the membership is primarily Christian, you will find the Holy Bible; in a Jewish Lodge you will find the Torah, and; in the Lodges in Turkey, I will guarantee you will find a Koran (I’ll bet the terrorists did not know this). As an aside, when Masons are initiated, the candidate’s holy book of choice is used in the ceremony.

RECENT EVENTS

Over the years, various religions have cast a suspicious eye on Freemasonry; Southern Baptists in the United States, the Anglican Church in England and Australia, the Presbyterian Church in Africa, and, of course, the Catholic Church. The division between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is an old one dating back in history. Frankly, the reasons for the division gets cloudier with the passing of each year but widened recently with the passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Following the new Pope’s installation, the following item appeared in the Catholic News Service:

Found among the list of the principal public documents and decisions issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) was prefect of the office was the following item:

NOV 26, 1983: “Declaration on Masonic Associations,” saying Masonic principles and rituals “embody a naturalistic” religion incompatible with Christianity. Those who knowingly embrace the principles or attend the rituals are involved in serious sin and may not receive Communion.

Following the 9/11 disaster, the Grand Lodge of New York invited New York Governor George E. Pataki to become a Mason in recognition of his work responding to the disaster. Initially, Pataki was pleased to accept the offer and even posed for a photo with New York’s Grand Master which was published on the cover of the “Empire State Mason” (New York’s magazine). However, after the Catholic’s declaration was brought to his attention (Pataki is a Catholic), he respectfully declined to join the fraternity.

The declaration has also led to problems in the Philippines where the local Bishop asked Catholics who are members of Freemasonry (and appendant bodies such as the Eastern Star) to stay out of the church:

“We would like to inform our Freemason brothers and sisters that you are no longer allowed to enter the church because your group contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
– Bishop Alo in a pastoral message read during masses

Fr. Medardo Salomia, spiritual director of the Diocese of Mati, said Bishop Alo and majority of the priests in the province have also agreed not to give Holy Communion to Catholics who are members of Freemasonry.

“The reason given why they are being barred from taking the Holy Communion was that they are being anti-Christ,” Father Salomia said.

Do not look for Pope Benedict to change his mind regarding Freemasonry any time soon as the subject of secret societies is a pet project of his; see related stories at: Reference 1 Reference 2

These recent events have been unsettling to Catholic Freemasons:

“Is it any wonder they call him the ‘German Shepherd’? It is this incredible arrogance of the church that has caused me to stop having anything to do with the Catholic Church. This is just another example of how they believe that they are the end all, and be all, of everything to do with the GAOTU. The epitome of arrogance.”
– a Mason from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

“My background is fourteen years of Catholic private schooling, alter boy, etc. Theology (four years) taught by French monks that came in the US as brothers vs. priest. We became French Catholic Theology students, so to speak, didn’t know there was a difference until later in life.

The teachings were pretty much the same as what I see in Masonry, treat each other with value and respect, the basic 10 commandments theme, with the difference being the church addition of specific scripture, a typical focus and part of religious beliefs, this is what makes a religion a religion. Masonry being non-religious, no scripture to believe in, cannot be a religion. I know it is hard to understand this when there is a Bible on an altar, prayer is given and things have names like catechism etc., should fall outside the above statement because it does not fit the incompatibility test. How can it be incompatible when it is pointedly non-religious?

Masonry probably does itself a disservice by using the old terms and symbols that scare people looking for something to be scared of. I have spent plenty of time out in the field, doing crazy things to evaluate our military strength, sometimes I was asked, “Did you see any snakes?” My answer is always the same, “I wasn’t looking for any.” They might be there, I’m sure some exist, but I didn’t have or let any of them hinder my mission. I’m convinced that if you go into the field looking for “snakes” you will indeed find them.

We were taught that each person, not just an ordained priest, has a special relationship with the trinity and no one can judge it but the two concerned. The fear of religious leaders is that they might lose followers, when they should be concerned with saving souls and doing good work. If they look to history, as we did, they will be enlightened as to the mistakes that are repeated continuously throughout history.

I have not seen the basis of the sin that is referenced here, like it is easy to see, killing an innocent person is wrong. Taking another’s wife or goods is wrong. Brotherhood and passing on an old mouth-to-ear order of words being a sin needs more explaining. I think the author is misinformed and has not done the research and homework needed to make a clear accurate proclamation. Too gray an area, there is only mortal and venial as far as I know. Keep in mind the background, with all due respect, of the human person involved, Germany is very tender about any other than mainstream groups because of the Hitler event and their lack of action against such atrocities. Look how they went crazy over the Scientologists in Germany.

I support my church, but it is my church, a church between me and my trinity as taught in theology at Trinity High School in the 1960’s. Remember in the 60’s it was a sin to be friends with a person of another faith. They would lead you to sin. You lead you to sin, not others.

Others may need the road map to heaven, we were given it as were others of other religions. We studied the old and new testament, everything brought into context of the time it was written, a year on each. We studied every religion known to man at the time and considered the differences of the teaching and beliefs.

I could go on forever, but, I know I’m okay because I do not embrace Masonry as a naturalistic religion replacing my Catholic upbringing and I know plenty of other Catholics that are of the same mind.

We all hope for the “lessons learned” part of the middle east to surface and hope religious leaders of all faiths, get over the “I’m the right one” and see the error of that way. Unite for peace thru understanding, temperance and defensive posture, it is the only future we can have or give our loved ones. What we see today is the other choice.

Man is what messes up religion. History proves it.”
a Past Master from Dunedin, Florida, USA

POLL

Wanting to understand the separation of Religion and Masonry, I established some Internet polls through the various Masonic Discussion Groups I participate in throughout the world.

The question was rather simple:

“If your place of worship (church/temple/mosque) said you must either abandon Freemasonry or the church, what would you do?”

3 (02%) – I would abandon Freemasonry
119 (93%) – I would abandon my place of worship and find another
6 (05%) – I would abandon my faith altogether

The results were to be expected. The overwhelming majority did not see any incompatibility between religion and the fraternity, but instead of causing a problem, they opted to move to another church where they could practice their faith.

Only a few others felt it necessary to choose sides. Here is a Brother who described why he would abandon Freemasonry:

Well, I guess I am a stand out in this poll. Being a newer member of a lodge I can say without a doubt, I would abandon Freemasonry. I was told from the very beginning that Masonry should never interfere with your service to your family, your usual occupation or your service to God. I belong to my church because I believe and have faith in my pastor. He has the vision of God (through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible) and does His work within and outside of our church. If I had no faith in this I could not remain an active member there. Please don’t think I belong to a cult or follow some nut job out there, our church is full of free thinking men and women who will let their opinion be known. Our pastor will listen to and consider all free thinking ideas, but when the final decision is made, it is made according to God’s word (Holy Bible) and not our pastor’s word. That is the reason I would abandon Freemasonry if it came down to a choice. I am very glad that choice will never have to be made. I spoke to my pastor before joining Masonry and although he is not a member of a lodge we have several members who are. My only problem is that there are several Brothers who attend my church who are Prince Hall Masons. In Tennessee our Grand Lodge does not recognize PH Masons. We treat each other as brothers anyway without holding any Masonic communication. But that is another discussion all together. Thank you for your time to hear me out.
a Mason from Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Another Brother felt entirely different:

“What has the Church done for me lately? First to criticize. Very dictatorial. Masonry promotes tolerance and mutual understanding.

If the choice was mandated by my Church, we would cease our association with each other. For I believe the terrible atrocities committed in those centuries past were by the Church that did not allow its parishioners the right to think for themselves.

As Freemasons this is our most treasured gift and ability. To be able to think for ourselves and to teach others of like minds to do the same for themselves is who and what we are. This is a major reason our way of life has existed for so many centuries! For if we cannot practice charity to or for whomever we wish, if we cannot have fellowship with whomever we wish or if we cannot hold a belief in whatever Supreme Being that we wish, what will our satisfaction be in belonging to a Church that refuses us these simple important pleasures?

I for one, like you too, believe in the life hereafter, and when push would come to shove, my relationship with my God is not hinged on belonging to a particular church! My faith in Him is contained in my heart, the same place my love for our ancient fraternity will live until the day that I die.”
Past District Deputy Grand Master, Havre, Montana

OVERCOMING IGNORANCE

As I see it, this division between religion and Freemasonry is primarily our own doing. True, the ceremonies of the fraternity are well maintained secrets and, as far as I’m concerned, it is nobody’s business but our own. After all, Masons have no intention in meddling in the workings of our places of worship, why should others meddle in ours? Aside from this, we have done a horrible job of communicating to the public about our stance on religion.

One of the best ways to overcome misconceptions with the public is to develop a one-on-one relationship with members of the clergy. Let me give you an example; I know of a Past Master living in Clearwater, Florida who considers himself a well-read Catholic and actively supports both his Church and Lodge. He invited his priest over to his house for dinner where they talked for hours about Freemasonry and cleared up a lot of the priest’s misconceptions about the fraternity. I also know of another Brother who retired and taught Sunday School at his Baptist Church. Initially, his pastor was very suspicious when he discovered the Brother was a Mason. But over time he found the Brother to be an honest and honorable man, and an active supporter of the church. When the Brother passed away, the pastor not only wept, he openly welcomed the Masons into the church to perform a Masonic funeral service.

Knowing there is no discrepancy between practicing one’s faith and Freemasonry, I invite all members of the clergy to contact a local lodge to discuss the fraternity and to find ways to work together. Better yet, I encourage all Masonic Lodges to establish a program to meet with the local clergy and discuss the fraternity. One-on-one meetings can overcome a lot of problems. Maintaining a total cloak of secrecy over the fraternity does nothing but cast a cloud of suspicion over our motives. We must take a pro-active approach to communications as opposed to reactive. Failure to do so leads to rumors and inuendos which only creates barriers.

Do we really have anything to hide? Not really. After all, are we the ‘Good Guys’ or the ‘Bad Guys’? We’re the ‘Good Guys’ who help the needy and try to make the world a better place by practicing charity, citizenship, patriotism, honesty and integrity. Let’s continue to leave religion to those institutions charged with practicing it.

To summarize Freemasonry’s stance on religion:

  • Yes, men of many faiths are Masons.
  • No, Freemasonry does not advocate a specific religion.
  • Yes, many Masons have been (and still are) members of the clergy.
  • No, Masons do not worship Lucifer.
  • Yes, Masons are regular church-goers.
  • No, Freemasonry is not a religion.
  • Yes, Masonic Lodges have been used by many religious faiths to hold service (Lodges also make their facilities available for boy/girl scouts, civic and governmental organizations, and other non-profit organizations).

Anyone who thinks otherwise probably has a hidden agenda.

So, to those religious orders reading this article, what will it be: allies or adversaries? Since Freemasonry respects religious institutions and encourages its members to attend the places of worship of their choice, why can’t religion accept Freemasonry?

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

Originally published on FmI in 2007

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and www.FreemasonInformation.com

Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s Pet Peeve of the Week (non-Masonic related).

Copyright © 2007 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved

Masonic Toasts, festive board, lodge celebration

Masonic Toasts

 

Masonic Toasts, festive board, lodge celebration

We are now approaching the holiday season where we typically enjoy several year-end parties. For many Grand jurisdictions, it marks the end of the Masonic Year, and the birth of a new one. Knowing the festive atmosphere of such occasions I posted a request on the Internet soliciting favorite Masonic toasts. As usual, the Brethren responded generously. Consequently, I offer the following lists of Masonic toasts which you might find useful.

Thanks to all of the Brothers for their contributions. Be sure to read the comments for more toasts, or to add your own to this festive collection.

SCOTTISH GRACE

Note: Not so much a toast, but a Grace, which may only appeal to the Scottish who support a particular football team. Origin unknown.

God bless the meat and God bless the stovies,
God bless the Jews, the Muslims and Jehovies.
God bless the Catholics and God bless the strangers,
And if you’ve any Blessing left Lord,
God bless the Rangers!

– courtesy of Bro. Peter Taylor
Worshipful Senior Warden, Lodge Albert No. 448, Lochee, Scotland
Secretary, Lodge Discovery No.1789, Dundee, Scotland

A FELLOW CRAFT TOAST FROM ISRAEL

A toast on the occasion of a Brother being passed to Fellow Craft.

Worshipful Master, Brethren,

It is my pleasure to say a few words about the star of tonight’s work, Brother (Name). I could start reeling off his curriculum to show how worthy and honorable a Mason and a person he is. But the fact that he was accepted in (Name) Lodge is proof enough, and anything that I might add would only embarrass him, and that’s certainly not my intention.

When we met for the first time, Brother (Name)’s last name brought immediately to my mind the hero of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” Petruchio, the gentleman from Verona who came to marry well in Padua.

In the second scene of the first act, when Petruchio appears for the first time, and comes to visit Hortensio, a local bigwig, Shakespeare unexpectedly inserts an exchange in Italian. Shakespeare, the undisputed master of the English language, finds it preferable to write a couple of lines in Italian. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps to show off, to demonstrate his knowledge of foreign languages, not only English.

For whatever reason, this is what William Shakespeare wrote:

Petruccio speaks:
Signor Hortensio, come you to part the fray con tutto il cuore, ben trovato, may I say.

And Hortensio replies:
Alla nostra casa ben venutto, molto honorato signor mio Petruchio.

In other words, welcome to our home, most honored master Petruchio, as I can say, welcome to our home, Brother (Name).

Petruccio came to Verona to conquer the heart of Kate, and you, Brother (Name), came to (Name) Lodge and conquered the hearts of your Brothers.

So let us all rise and lift our glasses. Brethren, a toast to our Brother (Name)!

Alla salute!

– Courtesy of W:.Leon Zeldis, PM
Tel Aviv, Israel

AUSTRALIAN HONORS

Author comment: I do not know of any special toasts but I have often felt the need for a collection of Masonic honors which go with the toasts, such as this one for Lodge Irrigation:

Down the channel and over the wheel (with suitable gestures),
flow back to Irrigation (three times, hand and foot etc.),
and for Lodge Ibis (the Ibis is a medium sized water bird):
Dip your beak (hand outstretched fingers in a beak pointing down),
spread your wings (arms outstretched),
fly back to Ibis (hands flapping) three times,
apron heart and hands.

Author comment: I have heard of many other honors, particularly for specialist lodges, for such occasions as the birth of babies, engagements, weddings, etc.

– courtesy of Bro. Ian Alexander
Lodge Leeton-Yanco 313, UGL NSW & ACT
Australia

SEQUENCE OF TOASTS IN ONTARIO, CANADA

Toast to Grand Lodge
Toast to Queen and the Craft
Toast to the Office of President of the U.S.A (if American Brethren present)
Grace
Toast to the candidate
Response by the candidate
Toast to Visitors
Response by a visitor
Junior Warden’s Toast – Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part,
Happy to Meet Again

– courtesy of W:.Marty Brokman, PM
Bedford Lodge 638, A.F.& A.M., GRC
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PAX, CARITAS ET CONCORDIA

This, in Latin, is the motto of Caliburn Lodge. Translated it means, “Peace, Love and Harmony.”

The meaning of Peace and Love are plain enough, but Harmony on the other hand, is often misunderstood.

Is it merely the absence of conflict, and if so, is this a desirable goal?

Imagine a world where everyone is always in agreement with each other. Can you? Of course not! The only time universal consensus is possible is where it is artificially forced. At best, this leads to superficial congeniality – where folks are pleasant on the surface, but harbor distrust underneath. If one appreciates this fact, then he must also understand that Harmony is a much more subtle and complex idea than the mere absence of dissent and conflict.

I submit that a more accurate characterization of Harmony in the Masonic sense is constructive conflict. Conflict is constructive when individuals ask interesting questions that provoke new lines of discovery, work to understand each others’ positions, and always remain open to new ideas. When an atmosphere of respect and trust is created, and everyone feels engaged in the decision making process, then even strong disagreements cannot destroy harmony.

Isn’t this a more apt understanding of what we, as Masons, mean by Harmony? Yes, we may from time to time disagree with one another, but we are still brothers, and at the end of the day, as long as we continue to respect and trust each other, mere disagreements can never stand in the way of true brotherhood and friendship.

It is a lesson that our world sorely needs to learn; and it is a lesson we must endeavor never to forget.

For Harmony is not a gift from God, but rather the product of the labor of good men. We must work each and every day, and work hard, to create Harmony.

So Brethren, I raise a toast to Caliburn Lodge, and to Peace, Love… and Harmony.

– W:.Richard A. Graeter, PM
Caliburn Lodge No. 785 F.& A.M.
Cincinnati, OH, USA
At our Festive Board on October 5, 2006.

Masonic Toasts around the room

Thanks to R. W. Goldwyn for this extensive list.

To…

  1. Our most Worshipful Grand Master. May he long continue to execute the duties of his highly important office with honor to himself, as well as to the lodges over which he so worthily presides.
  2. All grand officers around the globe. May they square their lives by the strictest regard to the rules of morality, and regulate their conduct by the plumb line of equity, so that when any of them shall be consigned to the silent grave, it may be inscribed on his tomb “here lies a good man.”
  3. Health, happiness, and unanimity to all the fraternity of free and accepted masons, around the globe.
  4. To all the members of the ancient and honorable craft. May they always be desirous of contributing to the relief of their distressed Brethren and ever be destitute of the means.
  5. May every Mason entertain that ardent and generous good will to his Brother, which makes his Brother’s situation his own, and do to all as he would they should do to him.
  6. To all ancient Masons, wherever dispersed and oppressed. May they soon find friends able and willing to relieve them.
  7. May every Mason, who Is desirous of assisting a distressed Brother or his family, be always possessed of the means.
  8. All regularly constituted lodges throughout the globe. May peace, harmony and love predominate in all their meetings and happiness be the portion of every member, in his individual capacity.
  9. May the funds of all lodges be managed in such a manner, that the distressed widows and orphans of deceased members may never have the mortification of applying for that relief of which they stand in need, but cannot obtain.
  10. May we be more studious to correct our own faults, than to promulgate the errors of our Brethren.
  11. May no honest heart ever know distress.
  12. May the fragrance of a good report, like a sprig of acacia bloom over the head of every departed brother.
  13. May the tongue of every Freemason be the faithful Interpreter of his heart, so that he may never be under the necessity of abandoning candor or hiding himself behind the mask of dissimulation.
  14. May we strive to resemble our divine Master, in promoting as far possible the happiness of all mankind and when we cannot succeed, may it be for want of ability, never for want of inclinations.
  15. May we enter apprentices to virtue; be fellow-crafts with charity; and always masters of our passions.
  16. The heart that conceals, and the tongue which never reveals.
  17. The immortal memory of the Widow’s Son.
  18. The good Samaritan. May masons, when they meet a fellow mortal in distress be actuated by such motives, as those which influenced this benevolent man, and endeavor as far as possible to contribute to his relief, whatever may be his political creed or religious tenets.
  19. May we be guided to happiness by wisdom, supported in virtuous resolutions by strength and may beauty adorn our beds.
  20. Sincerity! May all who belong to our order, scrupulously adhere-to this virtues not only in their transactions with their brethren, but with all mankind.
  21. May all Masons strictly adhere to truth; wisdom, virtue, and happiness will be the concomitants of such conduct.
  22. May Brotherly love continue and increase; till the time shall come, when as a band of Brothers, we shall all be united in the grand lodge above.
  23. Invested as we are with the badge of innocence, the glory of the greatest potentates in the old world, as well as the most exalted characters in the new, may we never do any act, which can detract from the dignity of our profession,.
  24. May every Mason be obedient to all lawful orders of his superiors, friendly to his equals, and condescending to his inferiors.
  25. May every Freemason’s heart have the freedom of chalk, the fervency of charcoal, the zeal of friendship; but not the hardness of marble, when a distressed brother makes his demand.
  26. May universal benevolence be the plumb line of all our actions
  27. May every Mason endeavor to attain a thorough knowledge of himself.
  28. May the square form our conduct through life; the level and plumb line remind us of our condition, and teach us to walk perpendicularly and act uprightly.
  29. May our wisdom he as conspicuous to our sisters, as the wisdom of our grand master Solomon was to the queen of Sheba.
  30. May every free and accepted Mason rise in the East, find refreshment in the South, and when he rests in the West, may he enjoy the same reward as was bestowed on our patron St. John, that of being the disciple, whom the savior. of mankind loved.
  31. The American fair. May virtue, modesty, grace and love, endear them to the affections of their husbands.
  32. Success to every Mason, who stands plumb to his principles, yet on a level with his Brethren.
  33. The President and constituted authorities of the United States. Though in the lodge, we can have nothing to do with political disputes, we must all unite in wishing health and prosperity to the magistrates of our country.
  34. May the breast of every Freemason be an ark for charity, from whence shall flow assistance to the widows and orphans of their deceased Brethren.
  35. May the rays of celestial light dart from the east. illuminate the west and may perseverance remove the keystone which covers truth.
  36. May the Royal arch cover every honest mason’s heart, and overshadow all who act up to the true principles of the craft.
  37. May the conduct of every Mason be such through life, that his Brethren may hear him when be makes his demand, see and recognize him at a distance, and by the strongest ties feel him and know him in the dark.
  38. May the Bible rule and guide us through life; the square, square our actions, and the compasses circumscribe the bounds which we are to keep with all mankind, especially with a Brother.
  39. May Masonry flourish till nature expire. And its glories ne’er fade till the world is on fire.
  40. The Craft. Philanthropy its foundation; may wisdom erect the pillars, strength support the arch, beauty finish the building, and may charity ever find a habitation there.
  41. The immortal memory of our late most Worshipful brother, general George Washington, the father of his country, and the friend of man.
  42. Our Sisters. May we ever regard them with the eye of affection; may their virtues ever meet our kind and tender embraces, and may we ever deserve from them the character of all affectionate Brothers.
  43. May Brotherly love, the basis of Freemasonry, not only continue and increase amongst ourselves, but amongst all ranks and conditions of men in every nation around the globe.
  44. May secrecy, good fellowship, morality, and an ardent desire to promote the happiness of each other be the polar star of every Mason.
  45. May Masonry flourish and vice decay.
  46. May the two great parallels be our guide to the grand lodge above.
  47. May every Mason, as far as may be consistent with prudence, contribute, to the wants of his fellow mortals, particularly to those of his Brethren; may he ever put the fairest construction on the conduct of his neighbors, and before he censures others “let him look at home.”
  48. May Masonry continue to flourish till time shall be no more.
  49. May it be deeply impressed on the heart of every Mason, that there is no real felicity for man, except in reforming his errors and vices and entering upon a strict and constant course of virtue.
  50. Religion! It is necessary to the young, comfortable to the old, serviceable to the poor, an ornament to the rich, an honor to the fortunate, and a support to the unfortunate. May every Freemason ever be actuated by its divine precepts.
  51. May the heart of every Mason be conformable to the divine will, and his actions void of offense towards his fellow mortals.
  52. May we as Masons be affectionate to our friends, faithful to our Brethren, obedient to the laws, and just even to our enemies; and may it ever be a maxim of our creed, to fear death less than the least reproach of our conscience.
  53. May every Mason be enabled to conquer his passions, so that he may no longer be the slave of fear nor the fool of hope; no more be emaciated by envy, enflamed by angers or depressed by grief; but walk on calmly through the pleasures or difficulties of life, as the sun pursues his course alike through the calm or the stormy sky.
  54. The great Masonic virtues faith, hope and charity. May every one, who belongs to the fraternity ardently cherish them in his heart, and may they be productive of good fruits in his life and conversation.
  55. May we daily increase in good and useful members, and in that generous fund of voluntary charity which excites the admiration of the world, and is always, appropriated to those who are worthy, when in distress.
  56. May the whole Brotherhood continue constant in good works, and adorn their profession, whilst arts and learning flourish amongst men, even to the end of the world.
  57. The secret and silent.
  58. All mankind.

TOASTS AND SENTIMENTS

  1. To SOLOMON, the luminary of the EAST, and WASHINGTON the glory of the West.
  2. To all those who steer their course by the three great Lights of Masonry.
  3. May every Mason who stands in need of Friendship be able to say EUREKA!
  4. May the Tuscan order support us; the Ionic guide us, and the Corinthian reward us.
  5. May we never feel want, nor never want feeling.
  6. The Brother who stands plumb to his principles, yet is level to his Brethren.
  7. May every Mason rise in the East, find refreshment in the SOUTH, and be, so dismissed in the WEST, as to find admission into the middle chamber to receive the reward of a GOOD MAN.
  8. May the altitude of our virtues, ever be at high twelve.
  9. To each faithful Brother, both ancient and young, Who governs his passions and bridles his tongue.
  10. The heart that conceals, and the tongue that never reveals.
  11. May we learn to be frugal, before we are obliged to be so.
  12. Pleasures that please on reflection.
  13. May we never meet an old friend with a new face.
  14. The woman we love, and the friend we dare trust.
  15. May the single be married, and the married be happy.
  16. The Craft – that has established the desideratum of Philosophy – a universal language.
  17. May we never be unmindful of Judas’s fate.
  18. May each Mason revere, the book, compass and square.
  19. To those whom we love, and to those who love us.
  20. May we correct our own faults, before we publish those of our Brethren.
  21. Great men Honest, and honest men Great.
  22. Riches to the Generous, and power to the Merciful.
  23. Love to ONE, friendship to a FEW, and good will to ALL.

To HIM who all things understood,
To HIM, who furnished stone and wood,
To HIM, who nobly spilt his blood—
In doing of his duty;
We hail the day! we hail the morn!
On which those three great men were born!
Who did the TEMPLE thus adorn
With WISDOM, STRENGTH and BEAUTY.

– courtesy of R:.W:.Ronald M Goldwyn, LMPS
GLNY & GLCT

The Toast to the Visitors

From Australia, the toast is in the form of a poem called. “The Toast to the Visitors.”

Tonight I have the pleasure
To all I must confess
To give to you this toast
To our Visitors and our Guests

The fellowship that you bring tonight
Is something that can’t compare
You know we like to see you
And glad that your always there

The harmony, the chat and jokes we have…
With our old and new found friends
We wish it could last for hours
And somehow never end.

But… all good things must come to an end
And we go our separate way
We hope you enjoyed yourself tonight
And return again someday

And now I ask the members to stand
To raise a glass in cheer
To toast to all our visitors
Who supported us this year
Our Visitors

I understand that this poem is quite old and comes from England.

– Lord Peter Wright Lodge No. 156
Alice Springs, Australia


Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge

Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

Originally published on FmI in 2007

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and https://freemasoninformation.com

Discipline is Not Evil

PREFACE:  This column, which may seem to be aimed at the education of our youth, is also applicable to the workplace and to Masonic lodges in terms of teaching our junior members how to succeed and climb the ladder of the Lodge hierarchy.

I recently attended a training session for a nonprofit organization whereby the intention was to teach new members the policies and procedures for the organization. I was there to assist. During the course of the program, the instructor explained the protocol for conducting meetings where the public may be in attendance. In addition to “Roberts Rules of Order,” the group had supplemental procedures for recognizing and answering questions from the floor. All of it seemed rather simple and straightforward, but there were a couple of young people in attendance, whom I judged to be in their mid-20’s, who seemed to be baffled by the instructor’s explanation. The teacher patiently repeated the procedure and demonstrated with some examples. This didn’t seem to help as the students were still at a loss as to what the instructor was saying. At this point, other students chimed in to support the teacher and tried to explain the concept to them. I even threw in my two cents. After much cajoling, they finally acquiesced and claimed they understood, but I wasn’t convinced they did.

As I was driving home that night I thought about the two young students and wondered why they were having a problem comprehending what appeared to be a simple concept. Aside from being younger than myself, I judged them to be relatively well educated. “Is it possible that I am more intelligent than they are?” I thought to myself. No, I like to believe I am well rounded, but certainly not in the category of being a genius. In all likelihood, we were probably comparable in terms of intelligence. So, what was causing the problem? Then it hit me, simple discipline.

Both tended to dress rather roughly to work and it wasn’t uncommon for them not to shave. Their speech and manners also hinted of the lack of social graces. Further, after observing their work habits, I found they had a reputation for bucking the system. They were far from stupid, but their nonconformist attitudes tended to get in their way of learning and adapting.

Not long ago I wrote an article entitled, “What’s wrong with a little discipline?,” which described the efforts of Caroline Haynes, a school principal in the United Kingdom, who was raising the test scores of her students by implementing strict discipline in the classroom.

More recently, Amy Chua, a Professor at Yale’s Law School in Connecticut raised some eyebrows with the publication of her new book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” which is a memoir of her experiences raising two daughters using strict parenting techniques. This resulted in considerable criticism in the media and by parents who claimed Ms. Chua was too hard on her own children. Maybe she was, but you cannot argue with the end result whereby her children, who are now entering their college years, are intelligent and socially well-adjusted, not to mention excellent musicians. They excelled not because they were inherently bright, but because their mother instilled a sense of discipline in them by challenging them to think and participate.

In an age of permissiveness, where parents tend to be lax in enforcing discipline, people like Caroline Haynes and Amy Chua clearly demonstrate that discipline is not evil, but rather quite beneficial. However, as both people have discovered, there is a general perception by the public that discipline stifles the expression of individuality and creativity. Consequently, parents tend to be intolerant of such things as school uniforms and corporal punishment in public schools.

Consider this, up until the 1960’s there were dress codes in public schools. For example, boys had to wear collared shirts, slacks, and proper shoes. Blue jeans, gym shoes, T-shirts, and shorts were a taboo. Further, there were hair codes which defined length and cut. If anything was out of place, you were sent home. Likewise, girls had similar codes. Dress lengths were checked regularly and there were certain ways you couldn’t wear your hair. Excessive use of makeup was also checked. This all changed in the 70’s when kids rebelled and parents began to insist their children be given certain freedoms which resulted in a “grunge” look that remains with us to this day. Is it any small coincidence that the rebellion of school dress codes in the 70’s led to a similar change in office dress codes in the 90’s? Hardly.

It is not my intention here to make a pitch for student dress codes or the re-implementation of corporal punishment, rather to point out the far-reaching effects from the lack of discipline by parents. As evidenced by the work of Haynes and Chua, there are benefits associated with discipline such as producing a trained mind that knows how to analyze, think, and take initiative to seek the proper answer (which would have certainly helped the two young students mentioned earlier). Discipline also forces the person to assume responsibility and gives them a sense of purpose. As such, it significantly contributes to their maturity. Further, it promotes teamwork by teaching uniformity and commitment. Discipline affects our thinking patterns, speech, common courtesy and decorum, all of which contributes to making a person more socially adjusted.

When it comes to discipline, nobody likes to be pushed, least of all myself, but I have learned to push myself when necessary. As a kid though, every once and awhile I needed a good swift kick in the rear end to get my attention and point me in the right direction. Even a nudge from a caring parent or mentor, given at the right time, can work wonders. That’s what parenting is all about. Unfortunately, not enough people are doing this. Maybe if everyone was required to serve a two year hitch in the military things would be different.

Some people perceive discipline as evil, that it does nothing more than “teaches trained seals how to perform” while sacrificing their creativity and spirit in the process. Such accusations are naive and misunderstand the purpose of discipline which is how to effectively channel skills and creative energies. Discipline represents a process whereby we learn there are consequences for our actions or inaction (“cause and effect”), that there are both right ways and wrong ways for doing things. No great or important object was ever built without some form of discipline. Ask any engineer, architect, musician, inventor, scientist, manufacturer or craftsman; they will all tell you that you cannot build anything of substance without discipline.

No, discipline is certainly not evil, but you have to wonder about the people who fail to instill it. Excuses abound to rationalize why they do not do so, such as they don’t have time, or they don’t want to inhibit their children. Some are plain and simply afraid to do so in fear of the legal system. When parents fail to teach discipline it defaults to teachers, coaches, and employers to do so, which is not necessarily their responsibility and may produce undesirable results. Understand this, for every person who fails to learn some form of discipline, they become a burden on society and, accumulatively, they represent a decline in our civilization.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Bryce American History Quiz

Last week I asked my readers to take a simple quiz regarding American government and history. I wanted to see just how well we knew some of the basics, such as our governing docs and some historical events. Nothing elaborate, I just wanted to take a pulse of our knowledge in general. 134 brave souls took the quiz for which I give my thanks. I didn’t want the quiz to be complicated which is why I tried to keep it as simple as possible. I could have asked for such things as age and political party affiliation, but I didn’t want to muddy the waters and turn people off.

Out of those who took the test, probably 25 people got a perfect score. I was not surprised by this as I didn’t try to invent a complicated quiz, just something that could give us some fundamental idea of what we know and what we don’t.

The quiz was far from scientific, yet I believe I can draw some conclusions from it based on the input. But first, let’s review the responses to each question. I’ll show both the number of responses and the percentage of the total, followed by my comments.

PLEASE ANSWER ALL 10 QUESTIONS – AMERICAN CITIZENS ONLY

1. Signed in 1620, it is the first governing document of Plymouth Colony as written by the colonists, later known to history as the Pilgrims. It was in essence a social contract in which the settlers consented to follow the document’s rules and regulations for the sake of survival.

22 – 17% – Magna Carta
92 – 69% – Mayflower Compact (CORRECT)
06 – 04% – Pilgrim Declaration
12 – 09% – Plymouth Compact
02 – 01% – Standish Consent and Decree

Comment: I considered this a tricky question as most people are unaware of any American history prior to 1776. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people got it right. Those that answered “Magna Carta” disappointed me; even though it is an important document that influenced others, it was still developed in England, not America. I consider it significant that people recognized its name though. By the way, the last three, Pilgrim Declaration, Plymouth Compact, and Standish Consent and Degree were figments of my imagination.

2. How many “separate but equal” branches are there in the U.S. Federal Government?

000 – 00% – 1
002 – 01% – 2
131 – 98% – 3 (CORRECT)
001 – 01% – 4
000 – 00% – 50

Comment: People may have gotten other parts of the quiz wrong, but somehow the concept of “three separate but equal branches of government” representing the checks and balances of government has been successfully stamped into our brains. Only three people missed this.

3. What is the following quote from?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

27 – 20% – Bill of Rights
94 – 70% – Declaration of Independence (CORRECT)
06 – 05% – Gettysburg Address
00 – 00% – Oath of Office
07 – 05% – US Constitution

Comment: The lion’s share of answers went correctly to the Declaration of Independence, but I was surprised to see how many people picked the Bill of Rights. As an aside, many of us had to memorize this section of the Declaration in elementary school.

4. Which U.S. President was NOT impeached?

34 – 25% – Bill Clinton
20 – 15% – Andrew Johnson
80 – 60% – Richard Nixon (CORRECT)

Comment: I expected this kind of response to the question. Richard Nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings could begin. The other two were impeached, meaning to hold trial in the Senate, yet were found not guilty. No U.S. President has ever been forcibly removed from office through peaceful means (assassination is another matter altogether).

5. What is the following quote from?
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”

04 – 03% – Bill of Rights
32 – 24% – Declaration of Independence
02 – 01% – Gettysburg Address
00 – 00% – Oath of Office
96 – 72% – US Constitution (CORRECT)

Comment: Most people got this correct, but notice how many confused it for the Declaration of Independence. This particular quote is from the Preamble of the Constitution. Like the Declaration, many of us had to memorize this in grade school, but I don’t think they do so anymore.

6. What U.S. President served as commander-in-chief during World War I?

11 – 08% – Calvin Coolidge
07 – 05% – Warren Harding
18 – 13% – Theodore Roosevelt
03 – 03% – William Howard Taft
95 – 71% – Woodrow Wilson (CORRECT)

Comment: I expected this question to be a little tougher as a lot of us have forgotten the events of nearly 100 years ago. Baby boomers may still be familiar with World War II, but I thought they would surely have problems with the first war, “The War to end all Wars.” I wasn’t surprised that Teddy Roosevelt captured the number of responses that he did simply because of his strong name recognition. By the way, William Howard Taft was the only President who also became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (and the first to throw out a baseball on opening day).

7. What is the following quote from?
“…and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

001 – 01% – Bill of Rights
000 – 00% – Declaration of Independence
000 – 00% – Gettysburg Address
127 – 95% – Oath of Office (CORRECT)
006 – 04% – US Constitution

Comment: I was flabbergasted that anyone got this wrong. The six who answered “US Constitution” should have read the question more carefully.

8. What is the following quote from?
“…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

005 – 04% – Bill of Rights
002 – 01% – Declaration of Independence
122 – 91% – Gettysburg Address (CORRECT)
000 – 00% – Oath of Office
005 – 04% – US Constitution

Comment: I was pleased to see most people remembered Lincoln’s speech. Interestingly, Lincoln was not the keynote speaker that day and, because of this, his words were almost overlooked by reporters in attendance. Thank God somebody was paying attention.

9. It stated that further efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention. It asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries but that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries.

009 – 07% – Emancipation Proclamation
002 – 01% – Kansas-Nebraska Act
000 – 00% – Kennedy Doctrine
116 – 87% – Monroe Doctrine (CORRECT)
007 – 05% – NATO Accord

Comment: I was pleasantly surprised by this one as I had assumed many people had forgotten about the Monroe doctrine, an important document which, to this day, is still in effect. I wonder if those who answered “Emancipation Proclamation” really understood the significance of that document. Probably not.

10. Which U.S. President was NOT directly involved with the Vietnam War?

81 – 60% – Dwight Eisenhower (CORRECT)
49 – 27% – Gerald Ford
01 – 01% – Lyndon Johnson
03 – 02% – John Kennedy
00 – 00% – Richard Nixon

Comment: This was perhaps my most controversial question as some of you argued that Eisenhower sent advisers to Viet Nam. True, but we send advisors to a lot of places. Viet Nam was Kennedy’s “line in the sand” to stop the proliferation of Communism. As to Ford, he inherited the Paris Peace talks from Nixon following his resignation and was in charge when we finally pulled out in 1975. Interestingly, I find younger people have no clue about this war whatsoever.

Conclusion

A few things occurred to me as I was compiling the results. First, the Gettysburg Address is better known than the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The Gettysburg Address is a moving speech but it certainly doesn’t bear the significance of our governing documents.

Second, it seemed to me that a lot of people cannot distinguish between the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. They view them as synonymous documents. For what it’s worth, the Declaration was used to sever Britain’s authority over its American colonies. The U.S. Constitution specifies how the government is to operate. The Bill of Rights is an attachment to the Constitution and specifies the basic rights of the citizens, specifically the first ten amendments. It was greatly influenced by such documents as the “Magna Carta.” All three documents, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, are important reads that all citizens should be familiar with, not just students in grade school.

Finally, here are the number of correct answers versus incorrect answers submitted on the quiz:

1034 – 77% – Correct Answers
0306 – 23% – Incorrect Answers

In most schools, a 77% would represent a “C” which is probably not as bad as we think. Actually, this number is probably higher than the national average as I like to believe my readers are smarter than most.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You

I shot out a traffic light the other day with my shotgun, one that has been giving me fits lately as I go to work. No, I didn’t actually shoot it, but I have found myself fantasizing about doing so lately as I have become increasingly agitated while waiting on this particular light. In fact, I’ve noticed I’m becoming more irritable lately and have even found myself yelling expletives at machines, particularly my computer and cell phone. No, I don’t think I’m going through a change of life. Heck, I wouldn’t even know what a hot flash was, but I don’t think I’m alone. When I mention this to my friends, they recognize their level of impatience is rising as well. I have older friends who are retired and appear much less stressed out and this got me thinking as to what was the cause of the discrepancy. True, I am still actively employed and they are not, but this is as it has always been. There must be something else.

Other than being employed, I am much more imbued with technology than my predecessors. For example, I make extensive use of computers on a daily basis. I write and communicate with them, I prepare presentations and spreadsheets, develop and use data bases and web pages, process financial transactions, and I use them for entertainment purposes. I have a cell phone which I use only occasionally, unlike a lot of people who seem to be addicted to them. My children are probably more proficient with such devices than I am, not to mention games and digital multimedia. Then it hit me; through our technology we have been nurturing a sense of instant gratification thereby affecting our tolerance.

Take photography as a small example. Just fifty years ago you would have a simple box camera where you carefully loaded a roll of film, usually consisting of just 12 shots (exposures). After you took your “snapshots” you would take the film to a drug store to be processed at a price and normally requiring a couple of days. 35mm cameras slowly made their way into our lives offering superior pictures with a roll of 36 shots. Nonetheless you would still have to wait to have the film processed. The point is, because you had limited exposures which cost you money to process, you tended to be more judicious in taking a photograph which was normally used for special occasions, such as group shots at birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, etc. or to capture memories while on vacation. Today it’s different. You would be hard pressed to find anyone without ready access to a digital camera of some kind (the cell phone took care of that). Now we expect to take voluminous instant pictures and upload them to the Internet for sharing with family and friends. Whereas fifty years ago, the average family may have taken no more than 100 pictures in a year, today we take thousands and distribute them around the world instantly. And if we cannot, we become terribly upset.

This leads me to believe there has been a significant change in our dispositions due to our enhanced use of technology. It would be interesting to see some research substantiating how our tolerance levels have changed over the years, thereby leading to heightened stress in our society. Technology has dramatically altered how we access news, our eating and sleeping habits, even how we learn which, in turn, affects our mental acuity, such as our alertness, our attention span and our sense of work ethic.

Technology has conditioned us to be intolerant of inefficiencies and limitations thereby causing us to think faster, virtually, and to multitask. Think about it; we don’t like to wait in traffic, we expect to be able to call and talk to any person anytime we want, we want information at our fingertips, we expect to be able to listen to any song or watch any movie whenever we’re in the mood, we want to get in and out of hospitals, we want instant food, instant pictures, instant credit, instant money, instant everything. We drive faster and talk faster because we have been conditioned to do so. The pace of business has also picked up considerably because it is driven by technology. We want things to be built faster and cheaper, and have no patience for anything less.

When John Lennon wrote his song “Instant Karma!” he was poking fun at our inclination to want everything instantly, that we didn’t want to work hard for anything, such as instant coffee, instant food, etc. Since he wrote the song in 1970 there have been sweeping changes to technology beyond what Lennon could have imagined as we have developed an unforeseen addiction to it.

Our sense of instant gratification today causes us to throw childlike tantrums when we cannot get something on demand. Waiting is one thing, our tolerance level is another. I contend our personalities are being subliminally distorted by technology. We obviously want everything faster, cheaper and better, but is it possible that too much communications is a bad thing? Or too much entertainment, or too much information? If it distorts our culture negatively, the answer is, Yes.

There is a certain amount of Parkinson’s Law being applied here – “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” For example, video games used to be nothing more than tic-tac-toe, then PacMan was introduced, both of which were amusing but rather lethargic by today’s standards. Now we have realistic video graphics featuring blood and guts that move at warp speed and teaching questionable ethics. As the pace of video games increased, so did our pulse.

I find one of the biggest differences between my generation and my older retired friends is we no longer know how to enjoy the moment. We are constantly pushing ourselves to move aggressively faster. Not enough people are finding time to unplug and decompress, and, No, collapsing in front of the boob tube at night is not the answer. Activities such as reading, attending civic events, art, exercise, sightseeing, fishing, etc. offer a distraction that a lot of us need to regain our composure. In other words, there is nothing wrong with occasionally stopping to smell the roses.

If things are this hectic early in the 21st century, imagine what we’ll be like by the 22nd. We already see signs of change in our youth who want everything now and as painlessly as possible thereby creating a sense of entitlement. Older people have trouble understanding why youth no longer has the drive and desire to earn things. The answer is rather obvious; they’ve been conditioned to think this way. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the plug was suddenly pulled from our technology. People would probably go through withdrawal symptoms before finding it necessary to think for themselves again, to learn to cooperate, communicate, socialize, and all of the other people related skills that have been altered over the years. It would actually be quite fascinating, but, of course, this will never happen.

Finally, consider these lyrics from Lennon’s “Instant Karma!”

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right in the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead

What in the world you thinking of?
Laughing in the face of love
What on Earth you tryin to do?
It’s up to you, yeah, you

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right in the face
You better get yourself together darling
Join the human race

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Favorite Quotes of Tim Bryce – Part 2

quotation-marks

Favorite Quotes of Tim Bryce on Life, Business, Sports, Politics and Government.  Part 2

Excerpted from the book The Freethinking Freemason – Collected Masonic Works of Tim Bryce

QUOTATIONS FROM FAMOUS MASONS WHO WERE MILITARY LEADERS

“It’s got to be done and done quickly, so let’s get it done.”

– Bro. Henry “Hap” Arnold
U.S. General, Commander of the Army Air Force
Union Lodge No. 7 A.F.& A.M., Junction City, MO, USA

“I learned that good judgment comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes.”

– Bro. Omar N. Bradley
General, U.S. Army; “The Soldier’s General”
West Point Lodge No. 877 F.& A.M., Highland Falls, NY, USA

“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

– Bro. David G. Farragut
Union Admiral in U.S. Civil War
Naval Lodge No. 87 F.& A.M., Mare Island, CA, USA

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

– Bro. Andrew Jackson
U.S. General and President
Harmony Lodge No. 1 F.& A.M., Nashville, TN, USA

“As you know that the Credit of the Service depends not only on dealing fairly with the men Employed in it, but on their belief that they are and will be fairly dealt with.”

– Bro. John Paul Jones
Founder and first admiral of the U.S. Navy
St. Bernard’s Kilwinning Lodge No. 122 (now St. Cuthbert No. 41), Kirkudbright, Scotland

“You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades against the invasion of a common enemy. You have to perform a task which will need your courage, your energy, and your patience. Remember that the honor of the British Army depends on your individual conduct. It will be your duty not only to set an example of discipline and perfect steadiness under fire, but also to maintain the most friendly relations with those whom you are helping in this struggle…. Do your duty bravely. Fear God and honor the King.” (a printed address to the British Expeditionary Force carried by soldiers during World War I)

– Bro. & Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener
British General
PM – British Union Lodge No. 114, Ipswich, England, and La Concordia Lodge, Cairo, UGLE

“It is a rule in war never to leave a fort in your rear.”

– Bro. Henry Knox
Major General, U.S. Revolutionary War
First U.S. Secretary of War
St. Johns Regimental Lodge F.& A.M., Morristown, NJ, USA

“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”

– Bro. Douglas MacArthur
U.S. General of the Army
Manila Lodge No. 1, Manila, Philippines

“A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.”

– Bro. John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing
U.S. General, WWI
Lincoln Lodge No. 19 A.F.& A.M., Lincoln, NE, USA

“Up men to your posts! Don’t forget today that you are from old Virginia.”

– Bro. George Pickett (at Gettysburg)
Major General CSA
Blandford Lodge F.& A.M., Petersburg, VA, USA

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

– Bro. Eddie Rickenbacker
Captain, American Air Force Ace WWI
Kilwinning Lodge No. 297 F.& A.M., Detroit, MI, USA

“Brave rifles, veterans, you have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!”

– Bro. Winfield Scott
General, U.S. Army
Dinwiddlie Lodge No. 23 A.F.& A.M., Virginia, USA

“There is no such thing as bravery; only degrees of fear.”

– Bro. Jonathan M. Wainwright
U.S. General of the Bataan Peninsula, WWII
Union Lodge No. 7 A.F.& A.M., Junction City, KS, USA

“We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before; and it changed for the better; so I trust it will again; If difficulties arise; we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times.”

– Bro. George Washington
U.S. General and President
Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 A.F.& A.M., Fredericksburg, VA, USA

FAMOUS MASONS WHO SERVED IN THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

“The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.”

– Bro. Hugo L. Black
Birmingham Temple Lodge No. 836 F.& A.M.
Birmingham, AL, USA

“The law does not expect a man to be prepared to defend every act of his life which may be suddenly and without notice alleged against him.”

“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.”

“The acme of judicial distinction means the ability to look a lawyer straight in the eyes for two hours and not to hear a damned word he says.”

– Bro. John Marshall
Chief Justice (1801-1835)
Grand Master of Virginia (1793 & 1794)

“Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.”

“There is nothing so despicable as a secret society that is based upon religious prejudice and that will attempt to defeat a man because of his religious beliefs. Such a society is like a cockroach – it thrives in the dark. So do those who combine for such an end.”

– Bro. William Howard Taft
27th President and U.S. Chief Justice
Initiated Occasional Lodge, Cincinnati, OH;
Affiliated Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, OH, USA

“In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.”

“The man of character, sensitive to the meaning of what he is doing, will know how to discover the ethical paths in the maze of possible behavior.”

– Bro. Earl Warren
Chief Justice (1953 – 1969)
Grand Master of California (1935 – 1936)

SENTIMENTS REGARDING THE FRATERNITY BY MASONS AND NON-MASONS ALIKE

“Gentlemen, I have always entertained a profound respect for the Masonic fraternity and have long cherished a desire to become a member…”

– Abraham Lincoln, 1860

“What couldn’t a million Masons do if they made a concerted effort to change the world? We could approximate brotherhood in the twinkling of an eye.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I say today, thank God for Masons and for all affiliated with this outstanding organization because you bring good, and the more good we bring, the closer we get to a more perfect world, so that the children of this world can indeed know peace, have freedom, and seek dreams.”

– Bro. Dirk Kempthorne
Governor, State of Idaho
September 16, 2004

“I am closing my address with a confession.

Since becoming a Freemason, I forgot hate. Instead, I learned to love – to love God and my fellowman. I am now at ease with my own conscience. I only do what I think is right, and shun all evil. I also forget fear. I can be alone no matter where I am, what I do, or where I go.

A clean conscience makes a man brave. I hope that Freemasonry has had the same influence upon all of you, which is an assurance of a better world to live in, and a happier humanity to live with.”

– Bro. & Gen. Emillio Aguinaldo, Filipino Hero,
Addressing the Grand Lodge of the Philippines in 1955

“Through Freemasonry, however, I have had opportunity to break bread with good men of other than my own Christian faith. Freemasonry does not promote any one religious creed. All Masons believe in the Deity without reservation. However, Masonry makes no demands as to how a member thinks of the Great Architect of the Universe. Freemasonry is, for all its members, a supplement to good living which has enhanced the lives of millions who have entered its doors. Though it is not a religion, as such, it supplements faith in God the Creator. It is supporting of morality and virtue.

Freemasonry has no dogma or theology. It offers no sacraments. It teaches that it is important for every man to have a religion of his own choice and to be faithful to it in thought and action. As a result, men of different religions meet in fellowship and brotherhood under the fatherhood of God. I think that a good Mason is made even more faithful to the tenets of his faith by his membership in the Lodge.”

– Bro. & The Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

“From my earliest recollection, sitting about my father’s knees, who was a Mason, and hearing him and fellow Masons talk, I imbibed the impression in early childhood that the Masonic fraternity is one of the most helpful mediating and conserving organizations among men, and I have never wavered from that childhood impression, but it has stood steadfastly with me through the busy and vast hurrying years.”

– Bro. George W. Truett (1867-1944)
Former President of the Southern Baptist Conference (SBC) (1927-1929)

“It is no secret that Masons love and revere the Bible. Nor is it a secret that Masonry helped to preserve it in the darkest age of the church when infidelity sought to destroy it. The Bible meets Masons with its sacred message at every step of progress in its various degrees.”

– Bro. & Dr. James P. Wesberry
Former Executive Director and Editor of
the Southern Baptist Publication “Sunday”

“In a day of mistrust, suspicion, discrimination, separation and even hatred, Freemasonry removes the distance between men. Friendship, morality, and brotherly love are the hallmarks of our relationships. There is a basic integrity in the Fraternity so often lacking in many of life’s relationships…. Let me quickly and emphatically say that Freemasonry is not and has never been a religion; however, Freemasonry has always been a friend and ally of religion. In 50 years as a minister and as a Mason, I have found no conflict between my Masonic beliefs and the Christian faith.”

“My Masonic activities have never interfered with my loyalty to and my love for my Church. Quite the contrary, my loyalty to my Church has been strengthened by my Masonic ties. Good Masons are good Churchmen.”

“Let no one say you cannot be a Christian and a Mason at the same time. I know too many who are both and proud to be both.”

– Bro. & Bishop Carl J. Sanders
United Methodist Church

“Good Masons make good churchmen. Every clergyman can testify to the truth of this. They make loyal and sacrificing patriots. Our colonial history supplies the proof of this assertion. All Masons are not ardent church members but neither are all church members ardent for the church. Yet the proof is clearly and abundantly evident that the Masonic fraternity is an influence for good in personal and community life.

Freemasonry is not a religion. It has never claimed to be, and has always corrected those of the Brotherhood who unthoughtfully would say ‘Freemasonry is my religion.’ Freemasonry has always been a friend and ally of religion. Religious people have found a congenial fellowship within the Lodge and have not been embarrassed by what takes place there. In many respects, Freemasonry may be called a religious institution owing its ‘origin and morality to the religious element.’ But this is something different from being a religion. A hospital can be a religious institution but not a religion.”

– Bro. & Rev. Bishop Fred Pierce Corson
Methodist Bishop of Philadelphia and
President of the World Methodist Council

ALBERT PIKE (1809-1891)

Teacher, poet, essayist, trapper, explorer, historian, revolutionary, newspaper editor, lawyer, legal scholar, political activist, publisher, military commander, orator, State Supreme Court Chief Justice, philosopher, and devoted Freemason.

“That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph: and that which make our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commence with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.”

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

“To work with the hands or brain, according to our requirements and our capacities, to do that which lies before us to do, is more honorable than rank and title.”

“Almost all the noblest things that have been achieved in the world, have been achieved by poor men; poor scholars, poor professional men, poor artisans and artists, poor philosophers, poets, and men of genius.”

“A war for a great principle ennobles a nation. A war for commercial supremacy, upon some shallow pretext, is despicable.”

“He who endeavors to serve, to benefit, and improve the world, is like a swimmer, who struggles against a rapid current, in a river lashed into angry waves by the winds. Often they roar over his head, often they beat him back and baffle him. Most men yield to the stress of the current… Only here and there the stout, strong heart and vigorous arms struggle on toward ultimate success.”

“Above all things let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great brotherhood; all born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound to sympathize with each other.”

Keep the Faith.


Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by: W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”
Originally published on FmI in 2008

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and www.FreemasonInformation.com. Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

To receive notices of Tim’s writings, subscribe to his Discussion Group.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s Pet Peeve of the Week (non-Masonic related).

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Freemasonry and the Internet

compasssquare12

This paper will attempt to explain the role the Internet has had on Freemasonry and provide some guidance on where it should be going. Whereas Freemasonry is an ancient order, the Internet is still considered a relative newcomer. Fortunately, the two should be seen as compatible with a great deal of synergism arising between the two; e.g., increased membership, reduced costs from streamlined administrative processing, improved public relations, etc.

Before I go any further, allow me to establish my credentials in this area. I have been involved with the Information Technology industry since 1976. My company specializes in Information Resource Management (IRM) which, among other things, includes methodologies for business planning, as well as systems and data base design. This involves considerable teaching and technical writing. Consequently, I have been writing articles on management and technology issues since 1976, as well as industry newsletters, not to mention the volumes of manuals I have written for my company’s products. I have been using e-mail and e-phones since 1982. In the early 1990’s I began to write web pages as a cost-effective alternative for our company’s voluminous manuals. Shortly after being raised a Master Mason, I began to develop Masonic web pages in 1997; first for local lodges, then for districts, zones, and then on an international basis. I have visited virtually every Grand Lodge web site in the world and probably 90% of all local Lodge and peripheral Masonic body web sites. In other words, I have seen a lot; so much so that I feel I am in a unique position to offer the following advice.

Basically, what I have learned is this, if that there was ever a vehicle devised for supporting Freemasonry, it is the Internet. The Internet fits Freemasonry like a glove and begs the issue of the universality of the Brotherhood. Regrettably, as a relative newcomer, it is still not considered a vital and integral part of Masonic operations. This is due to simple ignorance of its capabilities. Understand this; the Internet is primarily a vehicle for our younger Brothers as well as those considering joining this great institution. It is our future.

In the United States alone, 75% of all households now have access to the Internet. Close to 100% of all libraries, schools, and public institutions also have access. It is not uncommon to find training in the use of the Internet at any of these institutions, normally free of charge. Beyond this, the Internet has replaced telephone books and other voluminous catalogs and documents as the primary vehicle for reference and research. So much so, many Lodges are eliminating land-line telephones simply because they are no longer being used. Want to find a Masonic Lodge near you? In all likelihood you will be searching Google or Yahoo! before you ever pick up a thick telephone book. Further, candidates for the fraternity will reference the Internet well before they consider visiting a local library or book store. This is the hard truth of the Internet, and the sooner Grand Lodges accept it and adopt a sound course of action to adapt to it, the sooner they will be able to capitalize on its capabilities.

Not all Masonic web sites are created equally, some are obviously better than others. It all depends on the Grand Lodge’s understanding of the situation. For example, very few Grand Lodges have developed formal and published rules and regulations for the use of the Internet within their jurisdiction. Fewer have recognized the need for a Grand Webmaster to oversee all Internet activity. Don’t laugh, such a title is inevitable. Due to the dynamics of the Internet, such a person cannot be encumbered with too much bureaucracy in its implementation. True, such a person should operate under a set of rules and regs, but he should be entrusted to update web sites without having every word or character go through a lengthy review process. It is simply not practical to operate this way. Beyond this, the Grand Master and Grand Secretary must be Internet savvy. If they are not, then they should be educated and brought up to speed as soon as possible. In this day and age, ignorance of the Internet is simply a reckless course of action for any leader to take, Masonic or otherwise.

Up to now, most Grand Lodges have a basic presence on the Internet. But the Internet is still evolving and growing in sophistication. And already most Masonic sites are falling behind in looks and functionality.

As I see it, Masonic web sites should serve three primary functions: as a Communications Aid, as a tool for Administrative Support, and for Research. Let’s review each function in more detail and describe what can be done

COMMUNICATION AID

there are essentially three audiences we, as Freemasons, need to communicate with over the Internet: our membership, potential candidates, and the general public (including news services). As such, it is important that we graphically project a positive and professional image. I realize “flash” graphics (a la Macromedia) can be pretty snazzy in terms of initial graphical appearance. Frankly, to the regular web surfer, it is an annoying distraction that keeps the reader from the information he wants to get (as an aside, if you are going to use “flash” graphics, make it a separate option to the viewer). To me, I prefer a clean and elegantly simple design offering effective navigation through the web site. To this end, here are two of my favorite Grand Lodge sites I like to frequent:

Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

It is important that your graphical layout be inviting (so that people want to return to your site), as well as intuitive and easy to use. Layers of web pages are nice, but site search engines or drop-down lists are the preferred method of navigation these days.

As a communications vehicle to the public, your site must be able to adequately promote the message of the fraternity. Although, this can be done through simple text and graphics, on-line multimedia presentations are the wave of the future. Two Grand Lodges have produced such imaginative presentations including:

Grand Lodge of Indiana

Grand Lodge of Texas [now archived]

Another useful resource along this line was in Stephen Dafoe’s Radio Free Mason. (See Masonic Central for a similar program).

The development of multimedia content should be encouraged for three reasons: people would rather watch a presentation than read text (sad but true); it’s cheap to do, and; it can be updated rather easily. I’m waiting to see which Grand Lodge is going to be the first to issue routine “web seminars” in this manner in order to communicate to the Craft.

Other items useful for communications include:

  • General Contact Info (“Contact Us”) – to include postal, telephone, fax, and e-mail addresses.
  • Officers (a Who’s Who of the Masonic World) – listing all of a jurisdiction’s officers, from the Grand Line, to State/Zone/District Committeemen, to the local Lodge, all with adequate contact information.
  • Newsletters/Magazines – currently there are 32 Grand Jurisdictions in the world who issue their official publications over the Internet as well as in print form. Some are moving towards complete electronic format simply for the economics it affords. As printing and postage costs rise, electronic magazines make a heck-ova lot more sense. The predominant format for such e-zines is PDF suitable for reading with the Adobe Acrobat reader (a popular and widely supported product).
  • General News and Announcements – a great way to issue bulletins
    to the Craft, particularly in the event of emergencies (anyone remember Hurricane Katrina?).
  • On-line Calendars can be very effective for scheduling and promoting Masonic
    events, thereby improving attendance. Personally, I recommend “layers” of linked calendars so people can see what is going on at the Local, District, and Statewide levels.
  • Lodge Locators are invaluable for helping visiting Brothers find a local Lodge. As such, it is important to be able to find Lodges based on different search criteria, such as Lodge Name, Number, City, District, etc.

Two Grand Lodges who do an excellent job in this regard is:

Grand Lodge of Missouri

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Also, the Grand Lodge of Ohio has a fine graphical map to locate
Lodges (as do other jurisdictions; e.g., New York and Wisconsin):

The graphical format is nice if you need to search by location, but burdensome if you need to search by name or number (as many Masonic Secretaries have to do).

  • On-line map services are invaluable for plotting maps and providing driving instructions to Lodge locations. This should all be incorporated into the profile of each Lodge. Also, local weather stickers are useful.
  • Discussion Groups (aka “List Servers”) are essential for broadcasting both official and unofficial messages throughout a jurisdiction. One of the finest examples of this is:

The Grand Lodge of Ohio

As in Ohio’s example, a moderator is needed to oversee postings. The Discussion Groups also offer facilities to share computer files and for on-line “chat” sessions. As to the latter, I am surprised there aren’t any Grand Lodges holding regularly scheduled “chat” sessions to discuss items of interest. Further, Discussion Groups often provide “polling” facilities to get a pulse on current issues.

When forming a formal discussion group, such as Ohio’s, it is highly desirable to check the credentials of participants when joining the group, thereby keeping the “riff raff” out of the group. This can be performed simply by establishing an initial application screen where people submit their credentials for verification. It might also be a good idea to establish some Masonic questions to substantiate they are a Brother; e.g., “Who died first; Hiram Abiff, his mother, his father, his brother, his son, his niece, etc.? (My personal favorite is “What was the first name of Hiram Abiff’s wife?) 😉

  • Links – a repository of links to other pertinent Masonic web sites is an absolute must. Grand Lodges should encourage linking as it promotes traffic to their site. The problem here is keeping the list of links up to date.

Other items that promote traffic to your site include web rings, web site awards, and, of course, registration with search engines such as Google and Yahoo!

TOOL FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

  • This is perhaps the weakest part of any Grand Lodge web site. Some offer virtually no administrative support whatsoever; and they are missing the boat. Here are they types of things they should offer:
  • All of the Masonic Forms should be available for download (in PDF format), If it is good enough for the IRS, why not Freemasonry?
  • The ability to order Masonic supplies on-line complete with secured on-line payment. Everything from forms, booklets, and other paper supplies, to furniture and office equipment.
  • The ability to make secured on-line donations to charities.
  • On-line processing of membership data, which should be tied directly into a data base. This, of course, should have effective security tied into it for authorized use.
  • On-line processing of applications for things like the Masonic Home, Scholarships, and requests for assistance in sickness or distress. This could greatly simplify the processing of paperwork.

RESEARCH

This is another area rarely considered by most Grand Lodges, yet would greatly benefit the membership. If done properly, the following items should be provided:

  • History of the Grand Lodge as well as Local Lodges and other Masonic bodies.
  • Genealogy of the membership – this is particularly useful for studying someone’s Masonic heritage.

As a Lodge Secretary, I am occasionally asked to look up a past member’s records. As another example, a few years ago I was researching a project involving a member of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota in the 1800’s. Fortunately, the Grand Lodge Secretary was able to finally track down the data I was looking for. However, an on-line query would have greatly simplified this task for all concerned.

Such information is growing in popularity on the Internet and is relatively simple to establish. It would be entirely feasible to tie-in third party genealogy engines such as:

Geneology.com

Facebook

  • Laws, rules and regulations of the Grand Lodge. What better way of distributing official documents than through the Internet? Plus, it would simplify how they are updated and greatly reduce printing costs. This could be done either through standard web pages (HTML), PDF, or both. Nonetheless, putting the laws, rules and regs on the Internet would greatly expedite the distribution of this vital information to the Craft.
  • State/Zone/District Committee Reports/Booklets could also reach more people and considerably less cost.
  • Masonic Education – essays, workbooks and on-line tests could be provided to promote continuing education in Masonic affairs.

In all likelihood, items such as these should be restricted and accessed through effective security mechanisms.

CONCLUSION

The above shopping list is just scratching the surface of where Grand Lodge web pages should be going. I can also visualize it becoming a worldwide forum to verify membership, and as a communications vehicle between members (e-telephones and messaging). Frankly, I am thunderstruck as to why Grand Lodges are not diving into the Internet deeper than they have. Simple economics would dictate that this is far and away a cheaper way of operating than with today’s manual methods.

The secret to any successful web site is to make it a place where people WANT to return to; that they find it an invaluable tool they cannot live without. If you do not understand its potential, contact me, and I’ll try to explain it to you. But if you consider the Internet inconsequential, your Grand Lodge is going to lose ground and will simply wallow back in the 20th century.

One of the subliminal benefits of marrying Freemasonry and the Internet is that it promotes the universality of the Brotherhood. Masonic web sites can greatly facility communications and understanding not only within a given jurisdiction, but on a worldwide basis. As a byproduct, it promotes critical thinking and the exchange of ideas, all of which is vital to the continued evolution of the fraternity. This is hard for some Grand Lodges to swallow and, as such, often view the Internet and such discourse as a threat to their authority. This is certainly not the intent. Rather, it is intended to think on a global basis, reaffirm the relationships of the Grand jurisdictions, and build for tomorrow. As Masons, we have been given a remarkable tool to help propel us into the 21st century. But are we smart enough to take advantage of it?

Keep the Faith.


Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

Originally published on FmI in 2005.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and www.FreemasonInformation.com

Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

To receive notices of Tim’s writings, subscribe to his Discussion Group.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s Pet Peeve of the Week (non-Masonic related).

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Favorite Quotes

quotation-marks

Favorite Quotes of Tim Bryce on Life, Business, Sports, Politics and Government.  Part 1, Excerpted from the book The Freethinking Freemason – Collected Masonic Works of Tim Bryce.

Read more quotes in part two.

QUOTATIONS ON LIFE FROM FAMOUS MASONS

“Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”

– Bro. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain)
US humorist and author (1835-1910)
Polar Star Lodge No. 79 A.F.& A.M., Missouri, USA

“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we made today.”

– Bro. Henry Ford
US automobile industrialist (1863-1947)
Palestine Lodge No. 357 F.& A.M., Michigan, USA

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

– Bro. Benjamin Franklin
US author, diplomat, inventor, politician, & printer (1706-1790)
St. John’s Lodge of Philadelphia, USA

“Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.”

– Bro. Rudyard Kipling
British (Indian-born) author (1865-1936)
Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782. E.C., Lahore, India

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

– Bro. Will Rogers
US humorist and showman (1879-1935)
Claremore Lodge No. 53 A.F.& A.M., Oklahoma, USA

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails Daring Greatly so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

– Bro. Theodore Roosevelt
26th President of the United States
Matinecock Lodge No. 806 F.& A.M., Oyster Bay, NY, USA
(entitled, “Daring Greatly”)

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”

– Bro. John Wayne
US movie actor and director (1907-1979)
Marion McDaniel Lodge No. 56 F.& A.M., Arizona, USA

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

– Bro. Oscar Wilde
Irish dramatist, novelist and poet (1854-1900)
Apollo University Lodge No. 357, Oxford, UK

QUOTATIONS FROM FAMOUS MASONS REGARDING BUSINESS

“Serve the classes, live with the masses. Serve the masses, live with the classes.”

– Bro. John Jacob Astor
American Capitalist
Holland Lodge No. 8 F.& A.M., NY, USA

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

“The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

“There is one rule for industrialists and that is: make the best quality goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”

– Bro. Henry Ford
Pioneer Automobile Manufacturer
Palestine Lodge No. 357 F.& A.M., Detroit, MI, USA

“I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.”

– Bro. & Dr. Charles Mayo
Cofounder, the Mayo Clinic
Rochester Lodge No. 21 A.F.& A.M., Rochester, MN, USA

“I will have no man work for me who has not the capacity to become a partner.”

“The surest way for an executive to kill himself is to refuse to learn how, and when, and to whom to delegate work.”

– Bro. James C. Penny
JC Penny Founder
Wasatch Lodge No. 1 F.& A.M., Salt Lake City, UT, USA

“It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.”

– Bro. Dave Thomas
Wendys Restaurants
Sol. D. Bayless Lodge No 359 F.& A.M., Ft. Wayne, IN, USA

“Don’t be misled into believing that somehow the world owes you a living. The boy who believes that his parents, or the government, or any one else owes him his livelihood and that he can collect it without labor will wake up one day and find himself working for another boy who did not have that belief and, therefore, earned the right to have others work for him.”

“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.”

– Bro. David Sarnoff
Father of television
Strict Observance Lodge No. 94 F.& A.M., New York City, USA

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.”

– Bro. Steve Wozniak
Cofounder Apple Computer
Charity Lodge No. 362 F.& A.M., Campbell, CA, USA

QUOTATIONS FROM FAMOUS MASONS REGARDING SPORTS

“Sport must be amateur or it is not sport. Sports played professionally are entertainment.”

– Bro. Avery Brundage
President, International Olympic Committee
North Shore Lodge No. 937 A.F.& A.M., Chicago, IL, USA

“The great trouble with baseball today is that most of the players are in the game for the money and that’s it, not for the love of it, the excitement of it, the thrill of it.”

– Bro. Ty Cobb
Baseball Great
Royston Lodge No. 426 F.& A.M., Detroit, MI, USA

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

– Bro. Jack Dempsey
Boxing Champion
Kenwood Lodge No. 800 A.F.& A.M., Chicago, IL, USA

“I don’t like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pitcher.”

– Bro. Rogers Hornsby
Baseball Great
Beacon Lodge No. 3 A.F.& A.M., St. Louis, MO, USA

“Be strong in body, clean in mind, lofty in ideals.”

– Bro. & Dr. James Naismith
Inventor of Basketball
Roswell Lee Lodge A.F.& A.M., Springfield, MA, USA

“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s golf game: it’s called an eraser.”

– Bro. Arnold Palmer
Golf Legend
Loyalhanna Lodge No. 275 F.& A.M., Latrobe, PA, USA

“I don’t like the subtle infiltration of ‘something for nothing’ philosophies into the very hearthstone of the American family. I believe that ‘Thou shalt earn the bread by the sweat of thy face’ was a benediction and not a penalty. Work is the zest of life; there is joy in its pursuit.”

– Bro. Branch Rickey
Baseball Legend
Tuscan Lodge No. 360 A.F.& A.M., St. Louis, MO, USA

“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”

– Bro. Sugar Ray Robinson
Boxing Champion
Joppa Lodge No. 55 PHA, New York, NY, USA

QUOTATIONS FROM FAMOUS MASONS REGARDING POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

“I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.”

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

– Bro. Winston S. Churchill
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain
Rosemary Lodge 2851 and Studholme Lodge No. 1591, UK

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself…”

“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.”

– Bro. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain)
Writer
Polar Star Lodge No. 79 A.F.& A.M., St. Louis, MO, USA

“As long as there are only three to four people on the floor, the country is in good hands. It’s only when you have 50 to 60 in the Senate that you want to be concerned.”

“If you’re hanging around with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to the Senate. You’ll get the same kind of feeling and you won’t have to pay.”

– Bro. Bob Dole
Former U.S. Senator & Presidential Candidate
Russell Lodge No. 177 A.F.& A.M., Kansas, USA

“If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.”

Bro. Gerald R. Ford
38th President of the United States
Malta Lodge No. 465 F.& A.M., Grand Rapids, MI, USA

“History has to judge every man who served. I don’t know how they’re going to treat me. I may be the worst S.O.B. that ever came down the pike. But I won’t lose any sleep over it. I just like to be remembered as an honest person who tried.”

– Bro. Barry Goldwater
Former U.S. Senator & Presidential Candidate
Arizona Lodge No. 2 F.& A.M., Phoenix, AZ, USA

“I will not deny that there are men in the district better qualified than I to go to Congress, but gentlemen, these men are not in the race.”

– Bro. Sam Rayburn
Former Speaker of the House
Constantine Lodge No. 13 A.F.& A.M., Bonham, TX, USA

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

– Bro. Will Rogers
Humorist
Claremore Lodge No. 53 A.F.& A.M, Oklahoma, USA
(renamed Will Rogers Lodge No. 53 in 1979)

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

– Bro. Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd President of the United States
Holland Lodge No. 8 F.& A.M., New York, NY, USA

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty’.”

– Bro. Theodore Roosevelt
26th President of the United States
Matinecock Lodge No. 806 F.& A.M., Oyster Bay, NY, USA

“A politician is a man who understands government and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead ten or fifteen years.”

– Bro. Harry S. Truman
33rd President of the United States
Belton Lodge No. 450 A.F.& A.M., MO, USA

“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”

– Bro. Voltaire
Writer
Lodge of the Nine Sisters (Lodge Les Neuf Soeurs), Paris, France

Keep the Faith.


Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

Originally published on FmI in 2008

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and www.FreemasonInformation.com

Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

To receive notices of Tim’s writings, subscribe to his Discussion Group.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s Pet Peeve of the Week (non-Masonic related).

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Persistence and Determination

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you worked night and day in a Herculean effort to obtain it? No? Then you do not understand the concept of persistence and determination. You probably also feel you should be entitled to something simply because you are who you are or were present when something happened, regardless if you put forth any effort or not, a kind of winning the Lottery phenomenon. If so, I consider such an attitude as tragic as you will never value anything nor likely experience success of any kind.

In the course of my lifetime I have met with a variety of people who would like to see me just go away, be it in business, the many nonprofit organizations I have been involved in, or the various Internet discussion groups I participate in. It bugs them that I do not. Because of my dogged determination I hang in there and outlast them. This tends to drive them crazy and I must confess I get a certain amount of satisfaction from being able to outlast them and see something through to fruition. Some would call this bullheadedness or stubbornness, but this is when you go through with something even when you know you are wrong. If I am wrong, I will generally back down as I am not a proponent of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If I’m right though, I’ll hang in there through thick and thin until I see something through to completion. I will remain focused and on target.

When you talk about determination and persistence, two people come to my mind who earned notoriety through sheer will, Pete Rose and Bruce Lee. Regardless of how you feel about Rose as a person, I was in awe of him on the baseball diamond. His athleticism did not come as naturally to him as it did for others. Consequently, he worked overtime to learn his craft and succeed thereby earning the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Bruce Lee also overcame obstacles to become one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century. Some would suggest because both men were relatively small people they possessed a Napoleon complex and became overly aggressive to compensate for their size. I do not believe this is a valid argument as I have met many people, of all sizes, shapes and from just about every field of endeavor imaginable, who have gone on to accomplish great things, not because they were particularly talented or brilliant, but because they simply persisted with the same sort of tenacity exhibited by Rose and Lee.

I have yet to meet the person who wins at every game he participates in, that he is undefeated in virtually everything he does. I suspect if such a person existed, we would probably consider his flawless character boring. The fact is, we all suffer setbacks of some kind, be it large or small. It is only natural. To overcome such obstacles and succeed it is necessary to work harder than the next person. When it comes to success, some people are just plain lucky, but they are few and far between. For most of us though, persistence and determination are essential elements for success.

In my office, I have a framed quote from President Calvin Coolidge who said:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

I believe in the power of the human spirit, but it must come from within not from without.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.