Wednesday, August 6, 2014

‘The Masonic Society begins its seventh year’

Issue No. 24 of The Journal of The Masonic Society is arriving in mailboxes around the world now. Receipt of my copy today reminds me that the Society now is into its seventh year of uniting and educating those who seek further Light in Masonry. Like I’ve said many times before, it’s the best $39 you’ll spend. In addition to the four quarterly issues of The Journal, each member receives a beautiful personalized patent that even the most casual and nonplussed among us have framed for proud display. There also is membership in our on-line forum, a beehive of intelligent conversation. And you get to rub elbows with wonderful people at our various banquets and other happenings. Of course I cannot be unbiased.

Courtesy Nathan Brindle
Another batch of membership patents ready for the mail.
(Cat not included.)

Issue 24 includes five feature articles:

“Facing an Unspoken Issue” by Robert Wolfarth, editor of The Plumbline, calls on us to turn to our roots and core tenets in resolving modern day delicate concerns over who shall be permitted to enter the West Gate.

Dr. David Harrison concludes his two-part piece on “The Last Years of the York Grand Lodge,” actually excerpted from his new book The York Grand Lodge, in which he sheds light onto a lesser known jurisdiction in northern England in the eighteenth century that worked Royal Arch, Mark, and other degrees.

My longtime penpal Joi Grieg, a past president of the Maryland Masonic Research Society, is published again in The Journal with “The Mystic Tie: Tying and Untying with Words.” She examines some Masonic terminology, which may be categorized among “the language of inclusion and exclusion,” and that often obstruct any transcendent Mystic Tie. If you’re a member of ML, you been there, done that, but many do not know.

Andrew Hammer, who also serves on our Board, is back with an essay “The Observant Mason.” Andrew also confronts specific Masonic language, calling on ritual committees everywhere to consider smoothing over some verbiage that is “poorly framed, inaccurate, and prejudicial” that makes us look “unlearned and ignorant as Masons.” As I’ve said for years, Bro. Hammer shares the name of the tool used to make blunt sudden impacts. Wear a hardhat and safety glasses.

Near the back of the book we find “Freemasonry and Modern Western Esotericism” by C. Douglas Russell, Junior Warden of Southern California Research Lodge, who endeavors to reconcile the viewpoints of those Masonic writers who research factual (historical, biographical, etc.) truths, and those who write of esoteric meanings and spiritual truths. The “binary labeling…tends to divide us,” he cautions. He’s right.

In addition, you’ll find the usual sections of The Journal: messages from President Jim Dillman and Executive Editor Mike Halleran; current news and coming events; book reviews; Masonic Treasures; and more.

There are other Masonic periodicals out there—I write for a few of them—but no other will compel you to think about what you believe real Freemasonry to be. Not the pomp. Not the corporate charities. The practical ideas of the Craft that we hope are influencing your life.

Above, I mentioned The Masonic Society hosts events of various kinds. In recent years I had enjoyed hosting dinner-lectures in New Jersey in celebration of Saint John’s Day and St. Andrew’s Day. I don’t think I can do that any more, but there are other opportunities around the country for Masons to see what TMS does. On Saturday, September 13, we will co-host with the Philalethes Society a symposium at the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago. Great speakers, whose books you may have read, capped off with a banquet for fifty bucks. Click here for the details.

Courtesy Bo Cline
In closing, I’ll only advertise the continued(!) availability of The Masonic Society’s Fifth Anniversary Commemorative Jewel. These were presented to brethren who joined TMS last year, and were sold to the rest of us. Today, the price is marked down. Get one. Wear it to lodge. Let everyone see you know what’s going on in Freemasonry. Okay, enough.

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