How I Sat in the East and Changed Freemasonry Forever

Ok, that might be a little bit of an overstatement. I’m just a working class schlub, but something interesting did happen, and I wanted to share it.

mysticeye

My master’s hat for the evening… seriously.

I’ve sat in the East Chair twice before, both this past year, but for degrees. They were good degrees. I think I stumbled through the opening and closing during one of them, but for the most part I’ve not come too near leadership in the lodge, despite my swirling ascent through the chairs. And my brothers have noticed. I’m a joker. I’m a smoker. (I’ll stop there.) But despite never being shy to shout out an idea about every five seconds, I’ve never expressed a particular vision for my lodge. I’ve never displayed many measurable leadership qualities. I’ve mostly just been good for one-liners.

But for those who have been paying attention, and there have been some, I do take the Craft seriously, even if I don’t take myself seriously sometimes. And one thing I appreciate about the Craft is the traditions we have. I’m not looking to dazzle people with my particular notions of what masonry should be. I don’t care to express my will and pleasure that all brothers come in a jacket and tie. I don’t care to express that we have too many pancake breakfasts or not enough. I don’t see the Master’s chair as a way to express my personal tastes, even for just one year.

But I will try things. Because I’m not scared to try things.

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The Art of Manliness and the Craft of Masonry

The Art of Manliness is a website close the the heart of many Freemasons. For those who have never been there, it’s a guide that explores the lost traits and skills of being a man, and how we can get those aspects back into our live. I highly recommend How to Feel Like a Man, the first video of our Internet Lecture Series and a great primer on something freemasonry stresses in our Craft. It’s just one of many places where the art of manliness and the craft of masonry intersect, which is one reason why the site is so popular with masons.

I’ve been reflecting, recently, on the terminology used for the two concepts: the Art of Manliness, and the Craft, which is a synonymous term for Freemasonry in the lodge. Arts and Crafts. Kind of cute. Kind of weird. Why not the Craft of Manliness?
Half the posts are learning how to whittle a workbench with a pocket comb and things like that. It’s certainly pretty crafty. And why isn’t Freemasonry called The Art? A good deal of what we can do, in terms of the degrees, is practically performance art, anyway. Stonemasons made gorgeous works of architecture. Can we not be considered an art?

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