Moving this site/blog

•October 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When I was a professional pastor, there were a number of reasons I kept my blog and website (jrandolphclark.com) separate from my Masonic posts. I no longer need to do so and this website is up for renewal. To simplify both life and budget I am dropping this as of 11/29/17 and moving all of it to jrandolphclark.com. I will be posting there only after today.

 

 

Grand Lodge of Ohio Annual Communication – The More Things Change…

•October 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dayton Masonic Center 006Today I am attending (and the building where I work, the Dayton Masonic Center is hosting) the 208th Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio.

Many things have changed since the first meeting where the Grand Lodge of Ohio began. Twelve men gathered from five lodges. The notes from the first meeting reveal several noteworthy things:

  • The Grand Master was styled “Right Worshipful Grand Master” rather than “Most Worshipful Grand Master” as we have done since.330px-Chillicothe_Statehouse_1808
  • Only the first four officers received the honorific “Right Worshipful” – the remaining Grand Lodge offices none at all.
  • Several of the Grand Officers were not Past Masters of their lodges
  • In the list of those attending and consenting to the formation of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, several were identified as Royal Arch Masons (R.A.) something we would not do today in a lodge record.
  • My lodge (Nova Caesarea Harmony # 2) went by another name – Cincinnati # 13 under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky.
  • New England # 4 didn’t participate in the convention due to a spat over its representative’s credentials

If you’d like to read a nice transcript of the original minutes, Meridian Sun Lodge # 69 has it on their lodge website: https://www.meridiansun.org/preface/the-first-grand-lodge-of-ohio-s-convention.

Nearly 210 years later, we are a very different Grand Lodge and a very different fraternity than we were then. The world has changed but so have we. Some things today that seem to be from time immemorial are, in truth, not. blue-seal

This history reminds me to pause and ask – “what matters in Masonry?” “What things are core and what are not?” “What things will allow us to make innovations without doing so in ‘body of Masonry’ as all Masters promise not to do?”

I don’t know the answers. I know that the men who gathered in Chillicothe in 1808 found their way. I believe we will too. And I will enjoy the Grand Lodge Communication assured that it is so.

Masonic Thought for the Week – 10/16/2017

•October 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

d88477d38e09d879d1a7384e7ee07c37“Freemasonry has promoted fellowship, it has nurtured brotherhood, it has practiced charity. It has education, it has been founded on truth and the cardinal virtues. But what is Masonry’s greatest mission in life today? What should be the thrust of modern Masonry? Those are the answers we are presently seeking, and on our success in finding the answer depends the future of our Fraternity.” – L. L. Williams

 

Louis L. Williams is best known as a Masonic historian who co-wrote a history of the Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. He is one of the namesakes’ of its library. We are still struggling to answer Ill. Bro. Williams’ question. 

A Real Black Friday

•October 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

On this day (Friday, October 13) 710 years ago,  Phillip the Fair, King of France, launched a dawn raid that netted most of the Templars in France. Among them were the Order of the Temple’s highest officials including its Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay. Sometimes the origin of Friday the 13th as a day of bad luck is pinned on this event.  This superstition didn’t arise until the 19th century and the Templar origin until the 20th.

Arrest_of_the_Templars_-_Chroniques_de_France_ou_de_St._Denis_(end_14th_C),_f.42v_-_BL_Royal_MS_20_C_VIIRegardless it was a day of ill fortune for the most powerful and most affluent Crusading order in Europe. In a moment, the Templars became villains and the Order of the Temple was eventually dissolved. The eventual heroic death of DeMolay has influenced Masonic ritual and his story was the inspiration for the name of the Order of DeMolay.

DeMolay’s arrest, imprisonment, and death are all the more noteworthy because he was not a young man when these trials began (probably around 63 years old). Weakened by torture and incarceration and unrelenting pressure, DeMolay at the last spoke up bravely even though it meant his life. He and his fellow leader Geoffrey de Charnay were burned at the stake slowly and cruelly.  This aged, beaten down man even asked (according to tradition) that his hands remain unbound so he could pray as he died and to face the Cathedral of Notre Dame as he did so.

DeMolay’s example teaches many lessons – among them that we cannot control our fates. Evil may overtake us unaware. Tragedy may strike when we are on the heights of influence and success. In the seven years that followed arrest DeMolay was not always a figure of praise and even confessed to the false charges. But in the end he chose to protest, to fight back against the forces that had overwhelmed him and his order. And that he knew would take his life.

We have no more control most of the time despite our belief to the contrary. In every moment all we have is choice.  How we respond, how we react to what happens to us. May we respond to our Friday the 13th’s with the same integrity and courage and fidelity. Even when we vacillate or fail, the next moment can be one of courage and conviction if we choose it to be.

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Masonic Quote of the Week – October 3, 2017

•October 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My brethren, we of all men, owe it to ourselves and to the world, to be universal in spirit. Universality is a lesson the whole world is learning and must learn. But we ought to know it well already. We ought to be upon the front bench of the world’s school, setting an example to our more backward school-fellows. Wherever in the world there is a lodge of Masons, there should be a focus of civilization, a center of the idea of universality, radiating reason to put down prejudice and advance justice in the disputes of peoples, and in the disputes of classes, and making for the peace and harmony and civilization that should prevail in this great lodge of the world.

Roscoe Pound
The Philosophy of Freemasonry

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Roscoe Pound was a well-known legal scholar in the early 20th century and eventually became Dean of the Harvard Law School in 1916 and served until 1937. He was also a well-known Masonic author and speaker. He was particularly interested in Masonic jurisprudence and also Freemasonry’s philosophy.

 

 

Masonic Quote of the Week – September 27, 2017

•September 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Freemasonry_SymbolsI was born in antiquity, in the ancient days when men first dreamed of God. I have been tried through the ages, and found true. The crossroads of the world bear the imprint of my feet, and the cathederals of all nations mark the skill of my hands. I strive for beauty and for symmetry. In my heart is wisdom and strength and courage for those who ask. Upon my alters is the Book of Holy Writ, and my prayers are to the One Omnipotent God, my sons work and pray together, without rank or discord, in the public mart and in the inner chamber. Bu signs and symbols I teach the lessons of life and of death and the relationship of man with God and of man with man. My arms are widespread to receive those of lawful age and good report who seek me of their own free will. I accept them and teach them to use my tools in the building of men, and thereafter, find direction in their own quest for perfection so much desired and so difficult to attain. I lift up the fallen and shelter the sick. I hark to the orphans’ cry, the widows tears, the pain of the old and destitute. I am not church, nor party, nor school, yet my sons bear a full share of responsibility to God, to country, to neighbor and themselves. They are freemen, tenacious of their liberties and alert to lurking danger. At the end I commit them as each one undertakes the journey beyond the vale into the glory of everlasting life. I ponder the sand within the glass and think how small is a single life in the eternal universe. Always have I taught immortaility, and even as I raise men from darkness into light, I am a way of life. I Am Freemasonry.

– Ray V. Denslow

 

Ray V. Denslow is best known for his writings and for his work after the Second World War investigating the re-established Grand Lodges that emerged after the war to ascertain their regularity. A Past Grand Master and Past Grand High Priest of Missouri, Brother Denslow also served as General Grand High Priest and founded The Royal Arch Magazine

 

Masonic Quote – Week of 8/7/2017

•August 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The effect Masonry has on a man’s heart is aided by the mechanics of Masonry; temple, lodge room, dignity of the order, its public appearances, the respect it shows to its dead, its educational work, appeal to the general public, its secrecy, its reputation of being above party and politics, its alliance with all religion and its participation in none.  These make Masonry objective, but they are the outward semblance of the inward and spiritual Masonry.  These you ought to know for yourself:  charity, relief, brotherly love, truth, knowledge, self-sacrifice, tolerance.”

Carl Claudy
Old Tiler Talks –  Substitutes At Funerals