Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Are We Giving Our Brothers What They Want?
Today I attended the weekly meeting of the Des Moines Hi-12 Club No. 4. I always enjoy going to the meetings (when I can get there). There are a bunch of great buys in this club. The speakers are generally interesting, the food is good, and the view from the "Top of the Tower" of the Mercy Holiday Inn is always great. I enjoy standing at the window and looking out over the Des Moines skyline.
I had the pleasure of introducing M.W. Bro. Donald Mosier, Grand Master at today's meeting. Somehow I have been delegated as the official introducer when the Grand Master comes to our club...this is the third time that I have had the pleasure of introducing the Grand Master when he comes to speak to our club.
Bro. Don gave a great presenation. He is a great speaker and his talks are always interesting and thought provoking.
One of the comments that he made in his comments today was in reference to the number of brothers who have recently been dropped because of non payment of dues. He said the particularly alarming thing about this was that many of them are new Masons (having received their degree work in the last 3 or 4 years).
What has made these new brothers make the decision that their membership in our fraternity is not worth the price of their yearly dues? I am sure there are a variety of reasons, but one of the major reasons that I see is that many of our lodges simply do not do a very good job of meeting the needs of our brothers.
I think we lose brother Masons from our fraternity because they really don't have a sense of belonging. We take them through their degrees, give them their Masonic Englightenment coursework (and many times not very well at that) and presto you are now Bro. Mason...now what can you do for us? How about next Saturday morning in the kitchen cooking pancakes?
We don't really grow that bond of friendship and brotherly love between men anymore. Becoming and being a Mason is a lifetime process of growing and learning.
We need to grow our bonds of frienship between brothers both inside and outside the lodge room. We as brothers of the fraternity want to feel that our fellow brothers really and sincerely care about us as fellow human beings and many of us want to be able to share those feelings with others.
Young Masons of today want to come to a place where they can experience the traditions and customs of their grandfathers and great grandfathers. They want a place where they can learn and have an avenue to give back to their communities and fellow man. They want lodges that are well run and are progressive in their thinking.
The lodges that are prospering and growing are those lodges which exhibit those characteristics. The future of Masonry is not about simply churning men through degrees, it is about teaching and exhibiting to them a way of life.
These brothers that are being dropped for nonpayment of dues are being dropped because we the Masonic fraternity have not met their needs. They paid their initiation fees, gave of their time to receive their degree work, and probably initiatially participated in the lodge and it's activities. We the members of the lodges failed them by not meeting their needs, that is why they have now come to the point of not seeing value in their membership and feel it is no longer worthwhile.
It is time that we as brothers of the fraternity live up to the expecations that our new brothers have placed in us by meeting their expectations of what Masonry truly is. It is time for us to deliver the goods that we promised when they signed their petitions.