Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oration Returns


I was pleased to see that UGLE have authorized the office of Orator at least at the Provincial and Grand Lodge levels. This is a concept well known in continental lodges and may be found in the French and Dutch lodges in the kingdom.

The concept is sound. One brother is responsible for creating (or at least finding) a Masonic subject for discussion. This is especially interesting in Dutch lodges where they will set aside some meetings to focus not on ritual around a lodge, but discussion around a table. The speaker may be any one from the lodge. I've witnessed brethren in Amsterdam sitting around a conference table with stern looks of concentration on their faces. Some take notes. All are engaged. At the end of the lecture, a brief pause and then a flurry of questions. The speaker stands at the lecturn, carefully thinking about each question and then answers. It's brilliant!

But the point of the Orator is not to astound with his brilliance, but rather to poke us in the side; get us away from our dinners and cocktails; and make us think about something. That is after all, why we are called Speculative Masons, isn't it?

Now that UGLE have led the way for "Anglo-Saxon" Masonry, I can't wait to see Orators in all of the lodges in Thailand. This will only benefit the Craft in the kingdom.


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Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Master Mason -- Original Poem

Brethren all,

Just received this today. Its a poem written by a brother from my mother lodge. Although he's hit some rough times lately, he finds comfort in our brotherhood.

Jim...


A MASTER MASON

MAKING GOOD MEN BETTER!
WITH HONOR WE PROCLAIM IN DIAPASON,
FOR EVERY WORD, SYLLABLE, OR LETTER
DEFINES THE DUTY OF A MASTER MASON.

A SECRET HANDSHAKE AND A SECRET PASS,
BUT A TRANSPARENT REPORT OF SOCIAL DEVOTION,
OUR RITUAL IS AN INTELLECTUAL MASS,
WITH BROTHERLY LOVE AND WORTHY EMOTION.

OUR TOOLS ARE PRESERVED BY ETHICS AND PRIDE,
THE OATHS WE TAKE WITH OUR OWN LIFE,
THE SUPREME BEING IS OUR TRUTHFUL GUIDE.
WE FEAR NO DANGER! WE FEAR NO KNIFE!

WARS, DISASTERS AND FAMINE
RELIEF AND SUPPORT COME FROM A LODGE.
WHOEVER WANTS TO REVIEW AND EXAMINE,
HISTORY IS OUR WITNESS THAT WE NEVER DODGE!

FAMOUS OR OBSURE, RICH OR POOR,
BROTHERS ARE BROTHERS UNTIL THE END.
FOR JUSTICE TO BE SERVED WE MUST ENDURE!
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT WE NEED TO DEFEND!

(c) John D. Apostolopoulos


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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Workman Unashamed

I have long loved Kit Haffner's books on Freemasonry in Asia. He's a quick witted, succinct writer with a gift for making what is often very dry history come alive.

Christopher "Kit" Haffner was a long time resident and Freemason in Hong Kong. He joined lodges in the English, Scottish and Irish constitutions and eventually was elevated to the title of District Grand Master (English).

Previously to buy one of his books, you needed to go to Zetland Hall in Hong Kong. Now however, they appear to be popping up on the web in greater numbers.

Kit's final book on Freemasonry is Workman Unashamed. In it, he refutes Christian arguments against the Craft with skill and wit. And its a shame, really. Such was the extent of the anti-Masonic bigotry in his church, that he had to completely resign from the Craft in order to take a ministerial post. Please be sure to check out Kit's final work on the Craft he loved so well.


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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do Masons Hate God?

One of my roles as the tyrannical webmaster of this site, is to continually monitor traffic sources to make sure I've got the right meta tags to help people find the site in search engines. Most people find our site by using some combination of "Thailand, Freemason, Bangkok" and "Pattaya". However there are some interesting searches that result in people stumbling over us.

One recent search from the UK was "Do Masons Hate God". That shocked me. I've been a Mason for ten years and know a bit about the history, philosophy and intent of our organization. I've had the great fortune to meet and befriend everyone from the newest Entered Apprentices to sagest Grand Masters all over the world. Never have I met a Mason who could be described as hating God.

Recreating this search reveals excellent sites like mine (grin) as well as very informative sites from various Grand Lodges.

Unfortunately it also reveals the extent to which some people believe we are part of a great, global, Satanic conspiracy to control the world and/or destroy a specific religion. Many of these idiots seem to be using the same playbook. That would be some combination of the Taxil Hoax and Stephen Knight's The Brotherhood. These lies have been refuted so many times that I need not go through them again here. But the point is that there are people out there so insecure about their beliefs or their situation in life that they're looking for the someone to blame. Masonry is a big, fat target given our global reach and the celebrity of some of our members. Also the fact that we allow men of different religions to join our order seems to be a direct attack on certain religious fundamentalists.

As for me, I'm proud to be a Mason. I'm proud of the history of our order and the fact that we were the first organization that allowed men of different religions to meet and befriend each other. I'm overjoyed when I travel to a foreign country and am able to find good men in the lodges there. I love the beautiful lectures of our degrees which promote candidates to study their chosen religion and stand in awe at the majesty of our creator.

So to answer the searcher's question, "do Masons hate God?" No.

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