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From the West

rudyard kipling

From the West – May 2017

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Greetings from The West, Brethren;
My mind has been pulled in many directions this past month. Consequently, I’ve struggled to find the right words to convey all the lessons I’ve encountered since we last met and worked together. But one thing that has stood out to me is the triumphant return of our Brother Junior Deacon, Kent from his journeys in Europe with his wife. Among his adventures abroad was an evening spent at a Lodge in Antwerp and in commemoration of his Masonic education I’d like to offer a poem from Brother Rudyard Kipling. Read More

from the west

From the West – April 2017

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Greetings from The West, Brethren;

I’ve got my mind on mortar and mortar on my mind right now. We are all taught the proper application of the trowel as speculative Masons, and are informed of its utility to our ancient operative Brothers; but today (and regrettably too often) I find illustrations depicting the operative use incorrectly; as a tool used to spread cement over the face of the work. To be clear: if your work needs to be smoothed over on its face – your work is slipshod and the weaknesses you’ve hidden will show in time. Indeed, there were times when our ancient Brethren did find it necessary to veneer their work, but Masonic tradition informs us that that most sublime Masonic edifice did not use tricks or shortcuts – the builders we study and revere took the longer, harder path of carefully selecting and preparing their stones; cementing them together by spreading their mortar between each and every one. Read More

Hand Shake

From the West – February 2017

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“Meeting on the Level” was a recurring them in February. It took center stage in our meeting as we were reminded of the landmarks of Freemasonry, following Lodge it turned out to be prevalent throughout our conversations, and my own life for many days more. Last month’s discussion of the teachability of virtue brought several interesting questions out of the library. From Bro. Blake Presswood’s incisive reconstruction of Aquinas’ Principle of Double Effect to the Worshipful Master’s recounting of the story of Moses and Al- Khadir; the evening ultimately focused everyone on the problem of intent and its paradoxical alliance with effect. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated – this second effort to drill down and unpack the notion of virtue expanded all our experience of the mysteries of our fraternity. And I am personally grateful that it gave me greater knowledge of the Level – knowledge which turned out to be quite useful this past week. Read More

Grand Lodge approves by-laws amendment

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I have the distinction of sharing some good news with you from Friendship 160. At our January Stated Communication we learned that the Grand Master had signed and the Grand Lodge had approved of an amendment to our bylaws. No hooting, clapping, cheers or jeers were heard in the Lodge that night. Some smiles broke out and a few heads nodded, some Brothers sighed relief. This was but one of many points of business we had on a busy agenda. No comment was made about this news even after the Lodge closed and we rejoined our guests for some light refreshments and conversation about the night’s education. We’d had those conversations throughout the latter half of 2016, following the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge. Following the example set by Most Worshipful Brother Don Stapleton, we chose to address the issue of sexual orientation in our Lodge and have amended our bylaws to include the following; “No individual is to be excluded or expelled from membership in our Lodge, on the basis of sexual orientation. Our Lodge regards it as unmasonic to take any such action against a candidate or member.” This language is clear and unequivocating, as is our belief that this issue is a test of our skill with the proper application of the Level. Read More

From the West – January 2017

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Greetings from The West,

As 2016 is in its final days I find myself with high hopes and aspirations for 2017. Perhaps it will be quieter or marked with less hardship, but my greatest hope is to transcend the recent air of conflict that seems to have distinctly marked this year – most tragically in the cases I learned of Brothers in our Craft getting caught up in piques and feuds.

In the hopes that we can all grow either ourselves or those we love in 2017 I’d like to share the following poem with you. Read More

Beehive

Wisdom and Regeneration

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“The bee and the hive have long been symbols of industry and regeneration, wisdom and obedience, with a place in Egyptian, Roman and Christian symbolism.”

The beehive is an appropriate symbol for the renewing direction of Friendship Masonic Lodge #160, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons. Through the ongoing cooperative work of our active members, older and newer, and the strong commitment to renewal undertaken by our newly elected Master and Wardens, we will exemplify over the next three years the steady, industrious regeneration symbolized by the beehive. Read More

Friendship Altar

Is Masonry a Ritual or a Practice?

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We hear it said that the purpose of Masonry is to “make Masons.” But, how exactly do we do that? My personal experience as a brother of “Friendship Masonic Lodge #160, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons” has been unusual in some respects. Like 5 of my brothers, I was raised in the “united” Friendship 160, during the period when we were consolidated with Kenton 145. Yet, the first time I ever spoke in open Lodge, other than during my degrees and proficiency testing, was to offer prayer as Chaplain the night our Lodge was divided by the Grand Master back into its predecessors. The lines of our closing prayer – “[n]ow that we are about to separate …” – have never rung so strongly for me as they did that night. Read More

From the West

Who is a Libertine?

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The word “libertine” was first coined in the 16th century by the Protestant reformer John Calvin, to deride those who opposed his insistence that the discipline of his church be uniformly enforced against all citizens of Geneva, Switzerland. In later centuries the term became more generally equated with debauchery. Now, Merriam-Webster defines a “libertine” as “a person (especially a man) who leads an immoral life and is mainly interested in sexual pleasure.” In the 18th century, the “libertine novel” emerged as a recurring literary genre, focused on stories with anti clerical, anti-establishment, and erotic themes. One of the most famous novels of this genre, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons), was re-popularized in the 1980’s through an award-winning West End and Broadway play, and later a film which received multiple Academy Award nominations. This story centers on aristocratic adventures in seduction, revenge, and marriage-wrecking. Read More

From the West

Beauty in the Lodge

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As Masons, we are taught to seek the Three Great Pillars in our endeavors: Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. Looking out the window here in the midst of an Oregon Spring, it is easy to spot the third pillar: Beauty. As the old television commercial says, “[we’re] soaking in it.” Few places in America display the natural beauty we Oregonians can too often take for granted. Read More

From the West – March 2016

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Harmony being the strength and support of every Lodge, it has been gratifying to spend so much quality time with Worshipful Brother Bob, and Brother JW Walter, over the past two months. Pausing to reflect on this, I went seeking some wisdom on the subject of “harmony”, and found the following: Read More