Spinning Plates

I was recently sent a note from a very astute mason with these words that I thought would resonate to the readership.

“We need to make ourselves more understandable.”

I agree with the message, but wonder to myself what that means. I don’t believe we need to water-down our message or meanings any more that they already have been. On the contrary I feel that we need to build it back up. But I do feel, and I’ve mentioned it here before, that we need to focus more on the fraternity and less on our other “family”. Quoting the message I received “We split ourselves among pieces as lodges, bodies, clubs, committees and so much busy work it is failed before gaining support. We think support is what we need.”

He goes on to say that it is an all or nothing fraternity, that with the mind divided, starts to fall to ruins. Think here the old image of spinning plates, the more you get spinning, the more difficult it is to manage all of them. It can be done, and with practice it can be rewarding, but it is also dangerous when the plates are fragile. The more groups or activities we spin-off, the more we run the risk of losing sight of one of them and losing them all.

Does that mean to not have them? No, but I think only when the body is well and the membership stable, then the avenues of adjunct groups becomes available. What’s worse, wanting and thinking about creating something with only marginal participation, or creating it only to have it fall apart? My own idea would be to plan to execute when the time is right, then carry it out, but doing something to do it is only adding another plate to focus on.

If we focus on the plate at hand, we will sustain it and make it stronger, stronger in our community, stronger to our membership, and stronger to our purpose. This isn’t a lack of charity, but instead a redirection of it.

It comes down to focus.

We need to focus on our Blue Lodge making it as strong in our community as possible.

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~ by Greg on February 13, 2006.

One Response to “Spinning Plates”

  1. I believe we need to communicate more clearly to people what Freemasonry is about, what it can do, and what to expect.

    You can do all three of these things without violating one little secret.

    When I joined Freemasonry I posted many anxious questions on a certain Freemason forum. None of my questions were addressed directly. In fact, I found the whole experience frustrating.

    Once I finally began to ‘get it’ (only after reading many, many, many, books) did I feel like I could communicate it to someone else. I joked with a friend that I should write a book titled ‘Freemasonry for Dummies’. Fortunately Brother Hodapp beat me to the idea.

    There are a lot of people out in the world who are ‘seekers’. They are sick of rampant materialism and the hypocrisy they have seen in some spiritual systems. I know, because I was one of them. I never knew Freemasonry was a valid option and, even when I did finally become interested in it, it was because I thought it was just a volunteer organization like the Rotary club but with an odd initiation ceremony.

    The critics of Freemasony hopefully don’t matter too much. So long as we provide balanced counter points of view then this is the best that can happen on the Internet.

    I have been engaging in a discussion on the most rabid anti-Masonry website on the Internet called ‘Freemasonry Watch’. The first few message exchanges were just a bunch of rhetoric being thrown around but, more recently, some semi-rational and intelligent dialouge has emerged.

    It also seems to have generally stemmed the flow of garbage that usually goes through the message boards there.

    If you engage people rationally and reasonably you accomplish a few things.

    * You get your message out there, which counters the contrary point of view.

    * If you are reasonable and rational and your oponent in this dialectic struggle is rabid and foaming at the mouth, then the average reader will attain a true understanding of the relative merit of each point of view.

    * Though you may not affect the beliefs of a fanatic you will make an impact on people who just ‘don’t know’. I posted on one Christian website and read responses like “I’ve never even spoken to a real Freemason before…”

    Do not get angry. Be friendly and polite. Use humor frequently and be self-deprecating. Grant your oponent his arguments when they have merit. If all he wants to do is rant, then you can reply to his rant with your own argument anyway.

    So long as the forum administrator isn’t outright deleting or in other ways denying your right to speak, you can be effective.

    I give Freemasonry Watch credit. No one has edited any of my posts and the general tone of the debate has been much more reasonable than I ever expected (with the exception of a couple of guys easy to ignore).

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