Corky Is Back Again
Corky Is Back Again
A Christian first, a Husband and Father second, a Freemason third and grew up a Southern Baptist. I have no hope of changing anyone's mind with my words, but I do have hope they will make you think.
Corky Is Back Again
It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but as I have said, I have been working hard on the “Small Town Texas Masons E-magazine” and it has been recognized. The following story from the June 2010 issue tells the story.
Corky is back and some may say, "So what."
The following was a comment recently added to the Patriot Guard Riders story (and the other side to my story) . I think it deserves to be up front.
Brothers, this little story is not strictly about Freemasonry, however it is one I think you should read.
“Aw poop” (or something like that), I mumbled as I drove into a parking space in front of the Cannon Funeral Home. It was Saturday morning April 7 and I was there for Brother David M. Rattray’s memorial service. Brother Rattray was a long time member of Waller Masonic Lodge #808 AF & AM. He had been a Mason for 32 years, a 32 degree Scottish Rite, a Shriner, an ex-marine and a member of the Waller Chapter of the VFW.
The temperature was in the 40s and it was drizzling rain, but the circular drive in front of the building was full of motorcycles and a bunch of scruffy looking men dressed in blue denim, black leather jackets and some also wore black leather chaps. Many of them had tattoos, ear rings, bushy beards, full mustaches and white hair and you probably wouldn’t have stopped at a bar where they were congregated. These men were lined up along the circular drive way and the main thing I noticed was that every one of them was holding an 8 foot flagpole with a big American flag. Then I remembered, I had seen them before on TV. They ride with the funerals for the fallen men and women of the U.S. Armed Services
After the service they lined up at attention with their flags on each side as Brother Rattray’s remains were carried from the funeral home and then accompanied them to the Waller cemetery.
By the time everyone got back to Waller Lodge dinning room and a huge table full of some good homemade food I had figured out who they were and why they were there. I made it a point to shake their hands, get to know them a little and personally thank them for what they were doing. I discovered that when requested they do this for fallen service personnel and veterans all over Texas and even into Louisiana
After I got home I looked them up on the internet and found the Patriot Guard Riders Web Site. I think their mission statement tells the whole story;
“The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security.
We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.
Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family.
Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.
1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters.
We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.
To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you. We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.
I would advise everyone to never say anything detrimental to our troops or unpatriotic in front of them. Everyone of these fellers are some kind of serious patriots and it makes me feel good to know them better.
I received an email from a friend the other day stating that I hadn’t posted anything in the past 6 weeks and asking if I was OK. A small part of my answer was that I had discussed most of my major pet peeves and my fires had cooled a little.
However, I do still have a little problem with what seems to be frantic attempts by many Lodges and Grand Lodges in the U.S. and England to try almost anything to reverse Freemasonry’s losses in membership.
Anyone who tries to keep up with Masonic news reads more and more articles like the excerpts below.
“Petersfield Freemasons invited the town to an open day as they continue to throw off their cloak of secrecy.”
“…the Masons are giving public tours of the New York Grand Lodge Headquarters.” The lodge also hired a public relations firm to spread the word about its 225th anniversary, which was last month. And the Masons have run advertisements in movie theaters and run one-day classes to award the first three Masonic degrees in a single session”.
“Several jurisdictions, including those in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C., have greatly streamlined the initiation process. They have introduced one-day programs through which men can perform the necessary rituals to become "Master Masons" in a single day, rather than over several months.”
“In a long-in-the-tooth corner of downtown Dallas, between the Farmers Market and the Stewpot, sits the solid, well-maintained – but largely vacant – Masonic Temple.”
“With lodges now offering tours to the general public (one even asked me to lunch) and the wording of Masonic ceremonies available for anyone to buy, he may be right. But, dare I say, the more like the Rotary Club the Masons become, the less intriguing it all seems.”
Many of us old timers are troubled by the trend to offer inducements and shortcuts to anyone who will join the ranks. The main question they are asking is, is adding hundreds of new members to Freemasonry in one day progress for the fraternity or an progress for the coffers of the local blue Lodges and Grand Lodges.
When you read the article “Freemasonry in France” by Michael L. Segall, it makes you wonder about the new trend to modernize Freemasonry in order to attract the modern man. Is modernization really a cure for Masonries problems are in the long run adding to it’s problems.
According to Brother Segall’s article, Freemasonry in France is more popular then ever and gaining members. It appears that their secret is, that French Freemasonry today is the same as French Freemasonry over a hundred years ago.
For instance, the opening paragraphs in the article state.
“At my grand lodge (France) we are doubling our membership every dozen years or so, and have never simplified nor reduced the ritual to cater to candidates. Actually, it's unchanged since we removed "Long Live .the King!" more than a century ago. We've kept our old obligations and penalties, and if some outsider wants to misinterpret them, it's his problem”.
“Masonic education is at an extremely high level which, I'm afraid, could hardly be imagined elsewhere. Becoming a Mason is a challenge and a sought-after achievement, worth quite a few sacrifices. Our main problem is building enough lodge rooms. Our current ones are filled every day of the week by meeting lodges.”
“We have done for nearly three centuries the opposite of what is currently attempted in the USA, and we've done it with great success. Here is the recipe of the Grand Lodge of France where, it should be added, attendance in lodge is about 70 percent of members at every meeting.”
One of Brother Segall’s main reasons for their success is a problem that many of us here have been concerned about for a long time. I have long maintained that a key cause of dropouts after a man goes through the Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft degree is that he is told, now you are a Mason, except you cannot participate in 95% of the Lodge meetings. It’s like he is in a Masonic Limbo. He’s paid his money (degree fee), went through a ceremony in which he really didn’t understand what was happening or why and still knows nothing about what goes on in the Lodge meeting until after he learns the work for the E.A. degree, passes to the Fellowcraft degree and learns the work for that degree and then raised to the Master Mason Degree.
I still remember my own E.A. and Fellowcraft periods (only 15 years ago when I was 64 years old) and the feelings that I was still an outsider. I had joined a Lodge in another town, where my son was the only member I knew for many months. If it hadn’t made him so happy that I had taken the big step and his constant encouragement, I’m not sure if I would have kept coming back. The French however understood that problem and prevented it from allowing it to be a problem.
“Unlike the USA where, since the Morgan affair, lodges meet in the third degree, our lodges open and do most of their business (except passings and raisings) in the Entered Apprentice degree.”
“This allows entered apprentices to attend lodge from day one. It eliminates any need to hurriedly pass and raise them so they don't disappear before they may attend Lodge.”
Regarding Brother Segall’s claim of 70% attendance at meetings, there is another big difference between the French and English (U.S.) approach that explains the French success while most U.S. Lodge’s have an average attendance of ten to twenty percent of the membership.
“Our obligations include the promise to regularly attend meetings, with rare exceptions (illness, travel, professional, or family obligations), and then a written excuse (or phones to the lodge master) is required. Insofar as ritual is concerned, we do not think there is any need to modify it to suit the changing winds of modernity or political correctness (which is only a minor issue here)~ Those who do not like our penal clauses, rituals, proficiency, Masonic education, customs, or traditions don't have to become Masons.”
“We never have mass initiations or "zoom" degrees, where no one really gets initiated, or degrees performed by professional teams. We make all initiations, passings, and raisings personal warm experiences: of fraternity and brotherly love, performed by the officers of the lodge. We allow, no more than five candidates per ceremony as required by Anderson's Constitutions, so that the new members never forget the experience and its meaning.”
There also appears to be a difference in the basic approach to Freemasonry.
“. . . Selection is very strict, and becoming a Masons is considered a challenge and an achievement for which many applicants well wait months or years and make quite a few sacrifices. Dues are, on the average $350 yearly About a third to half of applicants are refused.”
“We consider that Masonry is the means to make good men, better. All other purposes, developments, and results are simple consequences of this main goal. To this end it is obvious that only men who we consider capable of improving themselves are admitted. We are not interested in numbers but quality.”
I would not try to convince anyone that French Freemasonry is better or worse then English/US Freemasonry. However It does appear that it may be to our advantage to at least study the success.
For instance, it could definitely be to our advantage to make a couple of reasonably small changes in the status of E.A.s and Fellowcrafts. Either open all Lodge meetings in the E.A. degree except passings and raisings.
I think a better alternative would be the one proposed at the Texas Grand Lodge last year. Allow E.A.s and Fellowcrafts to attend Lodges opened in the Master Mason degree except during passings and raisings. However they would be nonvoting members and ineligible to hold an office until they have been raised as Master Masons. This would allow them to be involved with most Lodge activities and partake in day to day affairs.
I remember when my son in law, filled with expectations after months of work and study, was raised and attended his first stated meeting. On the way home, he turned to me and ask, “Is that all we do at Lodge meetings, talk about who’s sick and who died and how much the light bill cost this month.”
You know the routine. Lump all the negative influences in your life together, and then, without bothering to analyze them too critically, throw them all out, because you deem them "detrimental to your well-being." As many may well be.
So it is with the list of bizarre organizations and secret gatherings of like-minded individuals, sometimes called cults. Such as---and these are just a few—the Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones, Bilderberg Group, Club of Rome, and the Illuminati. The Council of Foreign Relations, and the Tri-Lateral Commission also qualify if secrecy is the predominant criteria
Notice that one, so-called “secret” organization, was not mentioned: Freemasonry. Why was Freemasonry omitted from the list? Because of all the dark and obtuse organizations which I consider the “bath water”, I have a gnawing suspicion that Freemasonry may be the “baby” we are thoughtlessly throwing out with it.
There are good reasons for my thinking so. And if you’ll bear with me, I’ll try to explain.
Unlike, for example, Skull and Bones, an ultra-secret society in which occult traditions, secret oaths, and rituals are the norm--- and in which many prominent (including the Bushes) send their sons to Yale to become Bonesmen--- Freemasonry is neither pagan, , nor elitist. But it IS secret, for an honest and logical reason.
Before we discuss that reason, and the tenets of Freemasonry further, I confess an association with the Order earlier in my life, and my subsequent resignation from the organization---simply because I soon discovered that I am not an “organization” type person; a “joiner” by nature. Thus, anything further I have to say about Freemasonry is as objective and free of judgment as I can make it.
That Freemasonry has historical ties to Biblical teachings is beyond question, because it is provable. Out of the Dark Ages, both the and Freemasonry emerged in England and Europe when the public weal finally had access to writings which previously could be passed along only by word of mouth.
Calling Freemasonry a “religious” organization, however, is not accurate. It can best be described as specialized physical “work” with deep overtones.
In the Middle Ages, the word mason was used to denote a builder. That is, one of the many artisans in crafts and trades connected with construction; such as men who worked in , bricks and tiles. But there were many grades of craftsmen, and many kinds of special talents. In Gothic construction of cathedrals and other monumental architectural marvels, the work of Master Freemasons, was equal to Greek architecture, but never surpassed.
Eventually these disparate, but related, crafts organized themselves into gilds, or fraternities, each having its own rules, regulations, memberships, trained apprentices, AND a monopoly on its own kind of Masonry. This is important to know, because it is this monopoly, this professional secrecy about the “tricks of their trade” which has given Freemasonry an air of mysticism, occultism, even paganism, however inaccurate and undeserved it may be.
The understandable reticence to give away the “secrets” of their trade exists with professional artisans and craftsmen to this very day. My Uncle Bob, now deceased, was a cabinet maker whose work exemplified what true craftsmanship is all about. I have a chessboard, with squares of oak, maple, and walnut, which Uncle Bob made nearly 70 yeas ago, and it is in my office, still in beautiful condition.
Some accuse Freemasonry of being a black art or a heathen cult. A curious accusation since history shows it to be one of the most respected and honored of the ancient crafts; that Masons were honorable and lawful men, and that their craft had been practiced, honored, or established by such great men as David, Solomon, Euclid, and Pythagoras.
Oddly enough, Biblical elements came into the craft, not directly, but in a roundabout way. And not as history or theology, but as data to show that the great art of architecture had been known and practiced as far back as the prophets and kings of the Old Testament. And although occultism and mysticism flourished back then, and through the Middle Ages, Freemasonry was solely identified as the art of the builder, designer, and engineer, and had no interest in either occultism or mysticism.
Since time immemorial, Freemason philosophy is that work comes from God, for He Himself, as the Sovereign Grand Architect of the Universe, is a worker.
Pretty heady stuff, I admit, but the rationale for that statement is the great equalizer. God so made the world that plants do not grow ready to eat, clothing is not made by sheep, leather is not shoes, and houses do not build themselves.
Work, then, is universal, and a way of life. To be a worker is to be a man, and where idleness is praised, men deteriorate. It is in work that man discovers himself, reaches his stature, and becomes what God created him to be. That’s why Masons never refer to their activities as meetings, occupations, sessions or rituals; it is always referred to as Work.
Moreover each Masonic station, degree, pillar, column, and allusion are all symbolic of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, and, to put it bluntly, are no less meaningful than Jesus on the dashboard of your car, a candle on the altar in your synagogue, or a cross on the steeple of your church.
Kind permission to reprint “Babies. Bathwater and Freemasonry” was given by the author, You may read it and many other interesting pieces by him on The American Daily at http://www.americandaily.com/
Brothers, as it says at the top of this BLOG, it’s purpose is not to change anyone’s mind, but to make you think. Judging from the comments, it has served that purpose.
I could post stories here all day long that exactly agrees with your beliefs and mine, however parroting our versions of events over and over does nothing to increase our knowledge or understanding.
It is my belief (right or wrong) that we must listen to other peoples views and thoughts, whether we agree with them or not, in order to increase our own knowledge.
Knowledge Is Power