Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Brother Asks: Biggest Ritual Challenge



A Brother Asks:  What do you think is the biggest challenge Freemasonic Ritual presents to those influenced by it?

My Response: The Challenge Freemasonic Ritual presents to all Brothers who Seriously Perpend what it offers is realizing that it's Fundamentally a "What To Do" rather than a "How To Do" series of Road Maps.

This is Purposeful for it takes a Proactive Heart and Mind to take the Necessary Steps to figure out "How To Do" what should be done and thus make "What To Do" occur for real.

Those who fail to meet this Challenge may never begin to realize of What they are missing out.

The Challenge also Distinguishes engaged Builders from passive Members

Furthermore, it also helps separate out those who get caught up in the minutia from those who get its message and act upon it.

Here's a question for you: What do you think that message is?

F&S,

Brother John S Nagy

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Brother Asks: How to Use the Compasses

 
 
A Brother Asks: ...how the hell would you actually use a pair of compasses to keep yourself in check? 
 
My Response: For them to do any good, you must first internalize them. 

What is the Compasses' Purposes? The Compasses is used for two purposes. 
 
1) The first use is stepping distances.  Those distances are determined by Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love.
 
2) The second is to inscribe based upon specific distances once they are determined.  Those inscribed lines represent the limits, "standards" and "boundaries", to which we must not go beyond and operate within.  Once again, they are direct reflections of Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love.

In a very real sense, it is your leash, but should not be confused with a cable tow: Those responsibilities you must take care of first before you engage in Freemasonic activities.

What are the steps to use them? To use the Compasses as it is prescribed, you must first determine what your passions and desires are.  These are those emotional states that motivate you to exceed standards and boundaries when you don't have your leash connected. 

What are Standards and Boundaries? Standards are personal operating limits.  Boundaries are social operating limits.  Each guide us in windows of operation when it comes to ourselves and others.

What are Desires and Passions?  They are references to two distinct groups of emotions. 

How do you know what they are?  Desires are things that you want.  Passions are what you are willing to suffer to get what you want.  Passions should never ever be acted upon if they are going to make others suffer or force upon them situations that they do not want.'
 
And please forgive me for not saying this up front: In a real sense, you do not really use the compasses; when you internalize them and it uses you.  I hope you "get" this.

See Chapter II - The Stone Builder's Tools out of "Building Hiram - Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education - Volume 1" for more information on Speculative use for Operative Working Tools.

F&S,

Brother John S. Nagy

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Grand Lodge Innovation Solves Problem Plaguing Craft


 

Freemasonic Beehive

Buttsworth Vermont – In an unprecedented move unheard of throughout any recorded Freemasonic history, a Grand Lodge has made an innovation to the Craft that shall impact Freemasonry long into its future. 
Grand Lodge spokesman, Hiram Boca had this to say, “The problem has been growing since the decline in attendance that occurred shortly after the membership peak in 1959.  With attrition taking a toll on meeting attendance, it was clear from even a cursory view that we were not having an impact on solving this problem through any corrective action we have taken so far.”

What’s the problem you might ask?  Seeking to interview some objective observers, the Grand Lodge sought out non-members who support the organization.  They came across Constance Whiner, a member of an auxiliary Freemasonic organization, to provide an outsider' view.  According to Grand Lodge sources, she had this to say, “Oh dear!  It’s truly not my place to make comment on the goings on behind that huge guarded door. But I can tell you there’s a lot of complaining from the old timers coming out of meetings who shake their heads complaining about empty seats needing to be filled.   I can only imagine that they see this as a problem.”
And she appears to be in sync with what the Grand Lodge found coming from interviews with actual members.  According to their research, without fail, each member they interviewed focused on the same issue, “Empty Seat and how to fill them”. 

With volumes of growing evidence provided to them by the secretaries of each lodge within their jurisdiction, it was clear that the attendance numbers have declined since 1959 and that seats not being filled by members are at an all time high. 
And according to the Grand Lodge, Lodge secretaries are extremely frustrated with this.  “We simply don’t have enough members attending to fill the chairs and the problem is getting worse each year!” exclaimed lodge secretary Brig M. Inn. “No matter how many letters we send out, phone calls we make or verbal pleas we make to those who do attend, the empty seat numbers continue to mount.  Obviously we need to send more letters, make more calls and convince those who do attend to get out there to talk to those members who don’t attend or even approach past members and ask them to rejoin!”

With all the data coming in, the Grand Lodge decided it was time to do something that was not done before in anyone else's year.  They decided to reexamine the problem to see if it truly was a problem.  Their conclusions were shocking!
The first and most important of their conclusions was that the “empty seats”, so commonly focused upon and pointed out by whining members, was not really a problem. 
 
What was the actual problem? 
 
Grand Master Most Worshipful Brother Kean N. Cite had this to say, “We found that the overwhelming problem existing in almost every single one of our lodges was that there were far too many chairs provided that were not required for any proper functioning lodge."  He continued,  "With the reduction in membership, the continual and unnecessary inclusion of far too many chairs actually took away from the intimacy and fellowship that should occur had the distances between Brothers attending been reduced in tandem with reduced membership." He hung his head and said with an embarrassing tone, "They actually got in the way and distracted us from doing the work we need to be focusing upon when we come together.”

What was the innovative solution provided by the Grand Lodge?  Remove the unoccupied chairs, reduce the distances between the remaining chairs and enjoy the closeness that Brothers should have been enjoying all along.
Most Worshipful Brother Kean had this to add, “Implementation of this solution has already transformed many of our lodges toward the better.  We see more fellowship, less complaining and a whole heck of a lot more positive communications coming from attended meetings.  Brothers are actually enjoying the change." 
 
He smiled and then shared this with excitement, "Many of the Lodges have even downsized their meeting spaces, reduced overhead and the stresses that come from being burdened by the decisions of previous generations.  We certainly look forward to even more positive outcomes as a result of this innovation being implemented to our current operations.”

Fraternally & Sincerely,
--  Coach John S . Nagy
 
 
 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Coach Nagy Interview of Phoenix Masonry Life!



Good Day Fellow Travelers!

Yesterday I had the distinct honor of being interviewed by Fred and Elena on Phoenix Masonry Live!

I hope you enjoy watching the show!

F&S,

Coach Nagy

Friday, January 6, 2017

Building Janus Book Review by Bro. Frederic L. Milliken

 

Building Janus
 
A Book Review by Wor. Bro. Frederic L. Milliken
 
"Building Janus is another catechism primer from Coach John Nagy. ...
 

"I have to say that this is my favorite Building book by Coach Nagy so far.
 
"This is where the Master Mason gets down to the nitty-gritty. This is where our request for some meat is answered.
 
"Nagy reminds us that Masonic Ritual is just a road map. It is up to us to take the road map and explore all the ramifications and applications that can broaden our world and truly make us better persons. This is where true Mastery begins.
 
"Once again Coach Nagy advises us to think, to contemplate, to explore and ask questions and seek answers. 
 
"Building Janus is the GPS to new discoveries. But we, as Master Masons, must learn how to learn and do the Work necessary to obtain the prize – those deep and profound truths that enable us to travel to foreign and uncharted venues. This is the real secret or mystery of Masonry, and Building Janus is the book for every Master Mason to take on his journey."

--------------------------
 
NOTE: You can read the entire review here: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/building_janus.htm
 
You can order your copy of Building Janus at the link below:
 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grand Lodge Givin' the Bird... NOT!



Gobbler Gulch – In a long awaited, albeit “belated” for Thanksgiving, announcement made for the Grand Lodge by the Organization's Supreme Commander of Festivities, it was made quite clear that the society, known for its generosity, good will and charity, was continuing its long standing policy of not giving away any of its turkeys this Thanksgiving season. 
“We had to take a strong stand and not allow our much loved Craft turkeys to be subjected to any more basting than we ourselves would do to them,” said Grand Line officer Brother Chick N. Hider.  “After all, they're like family.”
The news was received badly and much to the chagrin of many of its outstanding and much involved members. “We can’t just sit still and allow so many of our turkeys to remain in safe harbor”, complained long time member Bro. Chop M. Wellman.  “We coddle them far too much and for far too long”. He shook his head and added, “And we do so in ways that prevent them from suffering what nature truly intended for them.”
Brother Char N. Smokem agreed and added, “These birds are definitely not part of our society, no matter how we want to label and treat them."  He continued, "They deserve a roasting befit them.  What's more, there are plenty of Brothers who would gladly volunteer to dress them down if given half the chance.”
“We could definitely afford to let go of a lot more turkeys than we do”, sneered one past master, who asked not to be identified. “The Craft suffers far too much for allowing so many of these Craft turkeys to go uncut for far too long.”
When asked if any changes to the Craft turkey policy should include additional considerations, Brother Burn Oinkment had this to say, “We considered swapping some of the Craft turkeys out with our lesser talented Craft hams in our holiday give away plans, but we honestly got overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of possibilities.”

It was expressed by many of those present at the announcement that the Grand Lodge itself needs to step in and make a significant change to the society’s well-established turkey policies. 

Unfortunately, most of the Brothers who have already made earnest effort to do so where themselves summarily divested and in ways that not even turkeys should suffer. 

For more about this egregious turkey situation, please contact the appropriate parties and ask about “Turkeygate”.

Fraternally and Sincerely,

Brother John S. Nagy

 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Brother Asks... More Occupied Seats?


A Brother Asks: How can I help to get more brothers in the seats?

My Response: To do this, your lodge must do what far too many American lodges across the country refuse to do...  require attendance or lose membership.  

Along with this, you must also divest your lodge of many of the American trappings that plague them and adopt the disciplines that many early lodges had.

What are American trappings?
  1. burdening operating budgets centered around unnecessary property ownership that brings no positive return on investment
  2. large membership roles that deflate dues and reduce relationship value
  3. non-attendance/non-participation rules that maintains membership
  4. more than quarterly meetings with a high proportion of them organization centric
  5. meetings that have no true relevance to life outside the lodge or member enrichment
  6. no true educational programs outside of those with an organizational focus
  7. reduced waiting times and minimal criteria to join which do not enhance the value of the lodge
  8. degree dates and schedules that coddle prospects and candidates
  9. mind-numbingly quick progressions with no truly challenging or relevant proficiencies that reflect degree themes
  10. casual attitudes toward the lodge and its true mission and purpose
... shall I go on?

F&S,

Brother John S Nagy


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Building Hiram Book Review By Bro. Frederic L. Milliken



Brother Frederic,
 
Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts with the world my good Brother!
F&S,
 
-- Bro. John
 
-----------------------------------------------
 
"This is by far the best book I have run into for Masonic education of Master Masons both individually and in a group at the Lodge. Its crowning glory is the ability Nagy has to combine many individual teachings and concepts into one big one, to make the whole of Masonry, what constitutes its nobleness, righteousness and virtues into a philosophy. What Nagy does is explain Masonic philosophy by explaining and connecting all its component parts. This philosophy we call Masonry is a way of life. A Freemason cannot live this way of life unless he can understand it. And that’s the job that Nagy does. He articulates the philosophy of Masonry so that Masons are able to practice it because they understand it. For that reason alone this book must be part of your library and the library of your Lodge."
 
-- Brother Frederic L. Milliken
 
 
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hidden in Plain Sight



This is an old American folk tale.  Enjoy!

John S. Nagy

-----------------------

 A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

"What sort of people live in the next town?" asked the stranger.

"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

"They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I'm happy to be leaving the scoundrels."

"Is that so?" replied the old farmer. "Well, I'm afraid that you'll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. "What sort of people live in the next town?" he asked.

"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer once again.

"They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I'm sorry to be leaving them."

"Fear not," said the farmer. "You'll find the same sort in the next town."

Morals of the Story:
  1. Your worst enemy is self-ignorance.  Know Thyself!
  2. Your baggage owns you.  Divest!
  3. You create your own lessons.  Learn Daily!
  4. You get what you expect.  See Differently!
  5. No matter where you go, there you are.  Escape is Futile!
  6. When you want different, be different!  Transform!

 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Brother Asks... Why Allegory?

 


A Brother Asks: Why is Allegory used within Ritual?

My Response: It is used because it is the Primary Method used throughout history to convey Theological and Philosophical Principles and Concepts.  Such training is invaluable in laying a foundation for future studies of Ancient and Modern Theological and Philosophical Literature.
 
He Continues:  Why Train to Understand it?

My Response: It is the primary challenge and obstacle presented to and faced by anyone making effort to decode what has been encoded in languages long forgotten and things conveyed today that are masked, veiled, concealed and hidden.  Its use has side benefits and annoying side effects.

He Continues:  What are its side benefits?

My Response: It is an extremely effective method of cleverly masking, secretly veiling, carefully concealing and blatantly hiding valuable information in plain sight.

He Continues:  What is its annoying side effect?

My Response: Unskilled and ignorant individuals usually make more of it than it is ever meant to convey and use it as an excuse to:
  1. Create huge organizations of people who expend inordinate amounts of time, energy and other resources chasing mythical creatures for sacrifice,
  2. Build expensive imaginary cages that are believed to hold them temporarily once caught, and
  3. Create accurate historically veiled accounts of their imaginary exploits for posterity.

He Continues:  What makes Allegory fun?
 
My Response: Did you not read my last Response?

He Continues:  What makes Allegory interesting?
 
My Response: It invites curious minds to embrace contrasting information and to dig deeper to cultivate insights into things, issues and situations that require them to transcend what might appear contradictory at first.

F&S,

Brother John S. Nagy