A Masonic Journey

A Masonic JourneyI have read many a Masonic book in my time. Some of them are so complicated, grandiose and difficult to read that sometimes I think I am back in school reading a textbook. That is why reading Nelson Rose’s book, A Masonic Journey, is a welcomed change of pace.

Rose has written a book that reads easily and comfortably and you are able to move right along. As Rose says, “I would like to focus on the journey itself.”

He continues, “Perhaps while you read this you can reflect on where you fit, not just within the walls of your lodge, but in your community or even you own home. All of us are bricks in the temple of humanity. When one considers the differences in the bricks used on the outer walls versus the inner chambers, it is easy to see that our diversity does not prevent our unity and that while we can choose to stand alone, we miss out on the grandeur of being a piece of something greater.”

So we get to read how Rose felt being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and how he felt being the Worshipful Master of his Lodge.

We also get to read how Rose feels on Masonic subjects. On education he feels the study of Masonic Philosophy is more important than learning ritual.

On Brotherly Love he says, “Our membership is suffering not because of changes in society, but because of our inability to keep the normal cut-throat attitudes of society outside the lodge.” Society isn’t doing so well in Rose’s eyes. “Then I look at our fraternity,” he says. I often wonder if society is suffering as a result of the watered down state of the Craft.”

We can do it; we can be great Rose concludes as he takes us through the concepts of From Darkness to Light, Brotherly Love, Further Light, On the Level, Achieving Balance, Toleration and the Path to Perfection.

“When properly applied all the lessons of Freemasonry will enable a man to find that balance which enables him to spread his influence and love like the mortar of friendship and Brotherly love in all aspects of his life,” Rose exhorts us.

Again he reminds us, “The hopes and fears of all humanity are universal; how we deal with them are not. The lessons of Masonry are designed to help, aid, and assist a man along the journey of life.”

Rose continues, ”We should let the world observe how Masons love one another and we should show the world our love for ALL our fellow man. Of all the organizations known to man, it is Masonry that has focused on a communal and fraternal system of morality. We work together for the good of all, not just ourselves.”

We get a glimpse of Masonic education after Lodge as Masons of Rose’s Lodge go out for pub and grub afterward. This is a very common phenomenon in Freemasonry. A great back and forth and bonding occurs over libation and breaking bread together. Rose lets us in on a bit of that after Lodge conversation with his Brothers.

He also describes some of his in Lodge doings. But the best part of the book comes when Rose waxes philosophical. He actually spells out what he is thinking, saying,

Nelson Rose and Son

Nelson Rose and Son

The Creator or Grand Architect only designs – thus the name architect. It is the individual choices that a man makes that dictate what will become of his life and what direction he travels is based on his own moral compass. Among us are the hints and clues that the Architect has placed in the most sublime ways.

And then there is, “It is no coincidence that the many men of science who are credited with redefining what was thought of as divine or supernatural, into the laws of nature and science, were Freemasons.”

Followed by, “The ability to learn how to think versus what to think is perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned from my studies in Freemasonry.”

There are a lot of Rose-isms in this book. We can’t give them all to you; you’ve got to read the book yourself.

The last third of the book is devoted to a detailed explanation of Masonic lessons that are a part of Masonic education. So we see the importance of the Five Senses and The Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences,  followed by some of the prominent symbols of Freemasonry – The Square, The Compasses, The letter G, The Quadrant, The Sun and finally The Tenets of Freemasonry. Rose concludes the book with some words to the wise for Freemasons and what we should be standing for.

The real gem in this part of the book that we haven’t touched on yet was Rose’s Masonic Education lecture that he delivered in Lodge. So all the non-Masons that read this book if you want to know what goes on inside the closed doors of the guarded Lodge Room, here is your chance. And what makes it so great is that it was an unprepared lecture as Rose was drafted at the last minute, so it was delivered from the heart.

In his lecture, Rose told his Lodge,

The open Bible reminds us that it is the moral law and the essence of deity that sits in the center of the Lodge. Without either, the lodge could not be opened or any obligation be taken. It is this symbol that reminds us that we as individuals are not the center of the Lodge and that we should govern our actions to a higher standard.

A Masonic Journey is not only a book that should be in every Mason’s library, but it is also a great book to give to someone who would make a good Mason or is contemplating becoming one. Very rarely do we get to follow the personal thoughts of a Freemason and learn from him personally how the Craft has benefitted him and society as a whole. It makes this book differ radically from a theoretical treatise on Freemasonry and it is an opportunity you should not miss.

Nelson Rose is a member of the Grand Lodge of Florida and the United Grand Lodge of England and writes for his Blog –

The Quest for Light, Practical Philosophy for a world in need of Light.

You can find A Masonic Journey on Amazon.

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!

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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

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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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The Chronicles of Philosophus: Violating the Sabbath

On the day of the Sabbath, the builders were exiting the temple after they had worshiped to return to their homes. It was the law among the Jewish builders that they could not work on the Sabbath, but they noticed one of their fellow craftsmen, a man named Amon who was born in Gebal, mixing mortar in order to proceed with work on the judge’s house which was being constructed at that time. They became incensed that he was ignoring the law of their religion and approached him in numbers in order to rebuke his desire to work on a holy day.

“Why do you insult God your Father by rejecting his day of rest?” yelled one of the members of the mob. “Perhaps he should be employed to build the temples of the pagans!” shouted another.

Amon spoke saying, “I have no quarrel with you or your Lord, I only subscribe to the religion of my land which has created no ordinance against working on this day. For is there any law by which I am to abide which requires that I rest on the Jewish Sabbath?”

The craftsmen talked amongst themselves before one spoke. “Have you not heard the commandments which Moses has received upon Mount Sinai? Do you deny the very commandment of your Lord?”

The craftsmen became even more excited as some began to suggest that Amon should be brought before the priest. Others said that he should be stoned. Finally, they decided to fetch one of the master builders from their assembly. Zachariah was sent to the temple of the builders, where the master builders were and approached Philosophus, who immediately followed him to the angry mob of craftsmen.

Hearing their cries for Amon’s prosecution, Philosophus shouted “Silence my Brothers! What charge do you desire to bring against your fellow craftsman?”

The most vocal of the group replied, “He denies the commandments of our Lord and is performing work on the Sabbath which has been forbidden.”

Philosophus asked of Amon, “Do you worship as your father did?”


“Was he a Jew?”

“No, he was raised in Gebal and worshiped the God of that land as his father had done before him.”

“When you were obligated as a builder, did you take your obligation in the name of Jehovah, the God of the Jews?”


“Were you ever informed that under the law of the order that you must conform to the laws of their religion?”


Then Philosophus asked of the group of craftsmen, “Were you obligated in the name of Jehovah, the God of the Jews? Were you ever informed that under the law of the order that you must conform to the laws of the Jewish religion?”

The group was silent. Philosophus said, “You were only instructed that it is required that you to follow the tenets of your personal religion, for the name of the God you worship does not determine whether you are an able craftsman. The order does not regard a man for his personal religion, but for his desire to be industrious, to improve his craft, and to assist his fellow Brethren.”

One of the craftsmen then inquired, “But who will inspect his work? For the master builders all follow the Judaic law.”

Philosophus walked over to the work station of Amon, picked up a trowel and spread a layer of mortar over one of the perfect ashlars to examine its consistency. The Brethren questioned this action in whispers among themselves, for they believed that Philosophus was now in violation of his religion. One shouted, “Master, you violate the commandment of your God!”

Philosophus once again spoke. “Did I come from your home land? Have I ever been circumcised or accepted in your temple?” The Brethren were silent for none of them had ever seen Philosophus worship at their synagogue. “Neither this Brother nor myself are children of Abraham; I will inspect his work. Now return to your homes and attend to the duties of your religion.”

The craftsmen agreed and apologized to Amon for their accusations. Before returning to their abodes, they saluted him as a Brother. From that time it became a custom among the builders to tolerate the laws and customs of their Brother’s individual religion.

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