Sunday, December 20, 2015

Lodge Support

Put your Support where you’re Nurtured Best!

To some, a Lodge at best is no more than a temporary home toward which Brothers Travel for Work, Earnings and Contribution; to make it anything other than this would be to bastardize its intent.  To others, it is a Way of Being where Brothers drink deeply from the Wellsprings of the Spirit; making it a Community of Brotherhood, Transformation and Rejuvenation and where all are paid their Due Wages for Work well performed. 

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Past Musings

It’s said by some Brothers and Scholars that in days of old, Stonecraft (Operative) Lodges were convened for the purpose of performing Work Supported by financial sources other than the Workers themselves.  These Lodges came into being for that purpose and for that purpose alone.  Once this Work was completed, or became unsupported (as in, financial support stopped), the convened Lodge dissolved and the Workman Traveled to find Supported Work elsewhere. 

Perhaps it’s a fantasy to think that these Workman Operated in Wisdom, where they only had a Lodge convened when Supported Work existed.  Perhaps it was not Wisdom at all and merely Common Sense that drove the practicality of such Conventions.  Either way, the Support paradigm seemed to work very well at the time. Lodges came into being and left existence just as swiftly based upon some very simple practical drivers.

It makes sense that such paradigms might have dictated the creation and destruction of such Operative Lodges.  Both the Lodge and its Workers required expenses to be paid and this on a Regular basis.  They were business operations primarily and most business operations have overhead costs associated with running them.  Working Tools and Materials must have been procured and maintained, at a cost. Administration and Site Support costs must also have been taken into account.  These expenses and others must have been taken into consideration when Work was to commence. 

For such Lodges to come into and remain in existence, Work supported by sources of revenue certainly needed to exist also.  It is costly for Workers of any Lodge to exist in any moment when there are no Supported Works to be done.  For Workers to be supported in their efforts, fair compensation (revenue for their Work) must be available to sustain them.  Once the support for such Work ceased, soon thereafter you could easily expect the entire Workforce to disband toward other supported Work that made itself known to them.  It was a good business model and it functions that way to this day in many parts of the world.

Today, Freemasonic (Speculative) Lodges come into being not because there is externally Supported Work to be done.  They come into being because there are groups of Workers called, “Brothers”, who want to Build and run Lodges.  The financial support no longer comes from external sources.  It comes from the pockets of member Brothers and not from financial backers or benefactors wanting structures built for one reason or another. 

The Work has also changed.  It’s taken two different directions in its focus: The Lodge (a band of Brothers who meet in a Lodge Building) and the individual Workers (the Brothers themselves).  Either Work results cannot be seen as external edifices that tower over the heads of those who build them.  Results cannot be viewed as a bridge that leads to other destinations.  The results of the Work are intangible in every respect and those desiring to touch any of it shall die in frustration before they may lay finger upon it.

The Work today is no longer Operative in nature.  It is solely Speculative and internal, not just to the Lodge Building but also to the Lodge’s patrons.  These patrons are profiteers of this Work and they are the Workers themselves.  The Work is explicit too.  It’s designed with one end in mind: to Preserve a specific Code that, when followed and practiced, Raises males to Maturity.

The Work within the Lodge is totally Preservation based.  It is esoteric in its nature but is often viewed and practiced as if it were exoteric.  No matter how it may be viewed though, Preservation is always at the forefront of its purpose. 

There is an established and honored Work flow.  Future Workers go through a rigorous interview process followed by Work being Initiated.  Should the new Worker show commitment, he shall eventually Pass onto other Work activities that eventually Lift him into providing the same support toward others so inclined.  Every stage of the process Preserves the specific aforementioned Code and only those who have committed that special Code to memory are allowed to Work within the Lodge building and under the Lodge’s Work Charter. 

Many Lodge members do not Understand the Work that should take place within each of the Workers, and far fewer do so clearly.  Even fewer support it.    It’s referred to as “esoteric” by some and “non-sense” by many others.  The end-in-mind of this Work is Maturation, although in the archaic language used by the Workers then, as in now, it is referred to as “Perfection”.  Even that word is misunderstood by the majority. 

Workers who are new to the Work are referred to as “Apprentices”.  The Symbols, that the Craft use to denote these Workers, all point toward dealing effectively with Youth. These Symbols also point toward the need for these Youth to develop and use specific disciplines that allow for better self-management. Activities designed to Unburden them of non-essential activities, relationships, ideas and possessions are pointed out to these Workers in the hope that they shall be Mature enough to knowingly engage in them.  There are also Activities designed to Strengthen their ability to make better choices.   These too are offered to the Workers in hope that they shall be ready for them. 

It’s important to note that the Apprentice Work might appear to be focused upon the superficial aspects of the Worker.  There is much talk about making surfaces Smooth and Right.  With well-guided instruction though, these aspects lift quickly away to reveal that it is not the external but internal Character that is being Worked into being smooth and Right.  Their Work requires Fervent and unwavering Commitment.  Those Workers without these qualities shall never Pass Suitably toward any worthwhile ends.  It is these qualities that bring about the Wages each Worker receives and in turn Contributes to the Lodge as a unified Workforce.  Should they fall short in any way, they and their Brothers shall suffer together.

Workers who progress through the initial stages of the Work come to Pass into a stage referred to as “Fellow Craft”.  The Symbols, that the Craft use to denote these Workers, all point toward dealing effectively with Adulthood.  They also point to the need for these individuals to develop and use specific disciplines that allow for Mature management of things external to themselves.  They are given opportunity to engage in activities that show them how to Distinguish things in progressively finer detail and to use both words and numbers as tools to do this.  All these activities, when engaged in, Cultivate Understandings within the Workers that Reveal Order in a seemingly Chaotic world.  These activities also Cultivate their Understandings as to how seeming Chaos can be Ordered and Controlled in very beneficial ways. 

Ironically, the Fellows’ Work is bringing Order to Chaos, not to the external but internal World of the Worker.  With well-guided instruction, the Craftsman soon Understands that his internal world must thoroughly be Worked upon first before what he shall eventually Work upon things externally.  It is tough and demanding Work.  Those who are still Burdened or who still lack Strength shall find that they are incapable of rendering anything of satisfaction.  Furthermore, if they do not learn to Distinguish well, their Work and what they Earn as a result shall suffer greatly. It is the internal qualities of these Workman that shall bring about their eventual Wages and in turn, what they shall Contribute to the Lodge as a unified Workforce.  Should these Workers be viewed superficially, all future benefits shall be diminished for all involved.

Workers, who Progress well through Manhood, Raise their Understandings and Improve their Discipline enough to be shining examples of what Recognizing, Understanding and Executing the Preserved Code should do, Rightfully merit the title of “Master”.  Those that don’t merit the title shall lesson the Wages for the entire Lodge.  The Symbols, that the Craft use to denote these Workers, all point toward dealing effectively with Age and Wisdom.  They also denote the need for these Men to further develop and use their well honed Understandings and Disciplines in life.  Workers who merit such a title, also merit Traveling, Working, Earning and Contributing at the high level that they have achieved.  Pretenders to this title may be given opportunity to do all four at first, but their lack of Maturity, Discipline and Skill shall soon betray them.  Their very looks shall reveal to the world who they truly are. 

Masters render Beauty in their Work.  There lives reveal to others and the world that they have achieved Mastery in that allows for liberties not permitted by those less Masterful.  It is their qualities that bring about the Wages they receive and, in turn, what they Contribute to the Lodge as a unified Workforce.

Lodge Members frustrated by the lack of sufficient support from poorly trained Workers should Perpend long and hard upon the Worker Work that each Lodge should promote.  Just as the Operative Workforces of past years, Speculative Workforces of present day Lodges require funding for Lodge Work.  Often times the Work itself provides the funding for Lodge Work.  This is because Workers do not view Lodge activities from a financial standpoint alone.  Work in itself should and does have a high degree of satisfaction and it is always rendered as payment to those who joyfully engage in it. 

When the Work being done holds no reward, the Workforce shall disengage and soon depart from it.  The Operative Lodges of yester years knew well that any Work that goes unfunded is unrewarding.  This especially includes unrewarding Work. 

When a Lodge wants support, it is well advised to look at the Work that it provides to its Workers.  A Lodge engaged in activities that have no reward to its Workers shall continually struggle to keep Workers in its quarry.  An unpaid Workforce shall not remain out of loyalty; they shall leave and go where they are rewarded best. 

Points to Perpend:

1)      How does your Lodge nurture its members toward Maturity as males?
2)      What Wages do your Lodge members currently receive for the Work that they do?
3)      What Wages would you like to see for your Work?
4)      What Work must you Commit to do and to perform to receive this Desired Wage?
5)      How soon should you be starting this Work?
6)      Whom shall you ask to assist you toward your Desired ends and how soon shall you ask them?

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