Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Building Hiram Released Soon

Building Hiram – 03/03/09

Hello Fellow Travelers!

I’ve never written a web-log before so this is a new experience for me. It feels strange to be putting my thoughts down for the world to read but when I consider that this is only one more direction that my writing is taking, I’m not a stranger to it at all.

For those of you who do not know me, I’m John Nagy and my professional background can be found at my website if you want to know it.

My Masonic background is a bit shorter in length. I was Raised only a few years ago, back in early 2002. I entered the line as a JW soon afterward, stepped out of line after that year and into the position of Lodge Musician when our existing officer passed on to our Grand Lodge in Heaven; I’ve been a Lodge Musician for several years now. I also provide Masonic Education to Lodges who will dare have me come and speak. And this last line is where this blog comes into play.

From the time that I was first introduced to Masonry, I had a sincere interest in knowing more. So much so that after reading many books recommended by a close neighbor, who was a Mason, I decided to become one myself. Very shortly after I was initiated I found that I was frustrated by the disconnected information that I received during my learning to do catechism. I wanted to know what different things meant and how they were connected to other things mentioned. I didn’t get the answers then and that trend continued throughout my experience way past being Raised.

I don’t fault the men who were mentoring me though. I’m sure that they received the same responses they gave to me when I asked. I sensed though that they were as frustrated deep down inside as I was initially. They didn’t get the answers then just as I didn’t when I asked. What more could they do? It was what it was.

As a result of this reality, I started venturing out into “the wild” to find out what I could on my own. I started reading and making notes as to what I would find. I eventually gathered enough connected material that it made it possible to write a presentation for other Brothers as to what I had discovered. I did this with several topics, each of which was driven by those initial questions I had as a newly initiated Mason.

After several years of researching interesting topics to present at Lodges, I’d accumulated many written Masonic papers. The last few years these papers have taken a distinct shape. The style that I’ve adopted is one of catechism. I’ve found that writing and presenting papers in the form of catechism does several things.

They tend to:

  • write themselves (which I like a lot);
  • entertain, surprise and enlighten;
  • create a distinct line of thought that opens us up to seeking.
With these catechisms being received well, I took time to arrange them into a book so that I could share them with others more easily. The book creation was an interesting experience in itself. I’ve created books before but this one posed some interesting challenges that were above and beyond the norm.

The first challenge was the usual challenge Masonic writers find themselves in when putting pen to paper in regards to anything Masonic. Masonic writers must always make sure that anything that they write does not violate their Obligation or the Law of their Jurisdiction. This specific challenge had me continually scrutinizing what I wrote to assure that I was honoring both.

The second challenge was the layout of the book. Several things came into play as I considered its makeup. I first wanted to make the book friendly toward Masons. The size had to be similar to many of the pocket size Ritual books and Monitors already available. The print had to be readable to Masons who would take this book and use it as Lodge education. Interestingly enough I discovered the ten point Tahoma font is almost equivalent to the twelve point Times New Roman font, prints more words per page and is easier to read – imagine that! Lastly, the information within it had to be presented so that it flowed as it was read, specifically when read out load in Lodge. All of these things were taken in consideration for I knew that the ultimate end users would want to have a comfortable feel in its use.

The next challenge was coming up with a title that shared the intention of what these writings were all about. I had a few ideas come up but in the end the title had to communicate what I was trying to do. Ultimately I created the title that communicated this well and “Building Hiram – Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education” was almost born.

The book is due out by mid-March and I’m now looking at creating Volume Two after a little rest. I’ve already written a bit of an intro and that will be posted here soon. There were many topics that I didn’t fit into this current book that are just as important subject matters of Masonic focus as the ones in Volume One.

With all this shared, I’m posting this initial overview to let you know that I’ll share my thoughts as I can and look forward to any feedback you may have to share on how the book was received along with any ideas on other chapters that can be written into the future.

Currently I have interest in writing chapters on:
  1. Circumambulations
  2. Hiram Abiff
  3. The Monitorial Symbols
  4. Emulation vs. American Rite
  5. The Mosaic
  6. The Great lights
  7. The Lesser Lights
  8. Scriptural References in Ritual>
  9. The significance of the number two in Ritual
  10. On What is Truly Raised
These, or something similar, will be in Volume Two. I once again need twelve chapter topics total, so this list will be growing and possibly morphing.

I'd like them to complement the list found within Volume One.


Coach N

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