Last time on The Life Masonic you heard from two creators, Pete and Kevin and how they had the crazy idea to start a new Scottish Rite Valley in Maryland. This time, we hear another perspective of that same story. This time from the SGIG of Maryland, who runs the Scottish Rite in that state, and the Director of Membership Services for headquarters of the Supreme Council in Washington, DC. They talk about a bigger picture, and how they help local members help Masons from across the country with their efforts.
This month on The Life Masonic, we explore the creation of a new Scottish Rite Valley from two perspectives: one from the young men that made it happen and one from the established leaders who supported and nurtured it. We hear firsthand how a random idea blossomed into a full-blown Valley in about a year, and how they overcame challenges along the way. It’s a great story of initiative, work-ethic, and effective leadership. And because it’s a big topic, we’ll give it two shows.
The are only a few true "rock stars" in Freemasonry. Chris Hodapp is one of them. He runs the wildly successful blog, Freemasonsfordummies, and is a founding member of The Masonic Society. Chris joins us to talk about his blog, his creative drive, and living in a motorhome.
If you look closely, you'll see there's a little extra in the radio tank for this month - almost a full hour, in fact. That's because our guest this month is Scott Gillis. He's just a guy. He's like any other guy you'll meet in your Lodge, or your church, or your pub. But Scott has a way of telling a story. And the story is of his life so far. He never seems to find the easy way, but he's turned out pretty well. He has always found a way to triumph over the adversity in his life. And that story, to me, has a kind of casual inspiration. It's not super hero stuff, but its stuff I know I could learn from and do better with in my own life. I hope you think so too.
We’ve talked about technology and Freemasonry before. This month, we get a little specific. We are talking about social media and the Scottish Rite - more to the point, Facebook. For my generation (gen x) and the generation after (gen Y), Facebook is as much a ubiquitous part of our lives as brushing our teeth or watching TV. For older generations, though, Facebook and other social media can seem like an intimidating complexity only rivaled by the internet itself, with new and confusing jargon that seems to change and evolve as often as Liz Taylor’s husbands. But the truth is, Facebook became the second most popular site on the internet behind Google because it is almost as easy to use.
This month we’ll talk by phone to the Ill. James Cole, SGIG in Virginia and Past Grand master of that state about how he started using Facebook and what he thinks of it now. Ill. Cole will be joined here in the studio by Morgan Corr, the manager of Social Media for the Supreme Council. Morgan will illuminate us on the Supreme Council’s position on all this, and where the future lies for it. So strap in as we go profile first, this is another episode of The Life Masonic…
“There is a profound irony to the relationship between Freemasonry and the Middle East. No world organization owes more to the region in the way of its motifs, its symbols, and its rituals. But no organization in the course of its presence in the Middle East has encountered more criticism, more disapproval, and more outright government persecution.” Dr. Paul Rich, Stanford University
So, is it dangerous to be a Freemason in the Middle East? And why? As we learn from this month’s guest, it turns out, there might not be a simple answer to that question in a region that freely mixes its history with politics and religion in a sometimes volitile stew. His name is Michael Buchard. He is a former Naval Officer and resident of several foreign countries as consultant and student. He talks to us about his experiences and his research into Freemasonry's sorted history in the Middle East on this month's The Life Masonic...
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The Scottish Rite’s answer to the "hall of fame" is the Grand Cross Court of Honor. It is the highest honor that the Supreme Council can bestow on a member, and it is reserved for those who have performed exceptional, extraordinary and prolonged services to the Fraternity and or humanity. To put a finer point on it, in terms of numbers, there are currently only 81 men in the world who hold this honor, which is often called the greatest honor in Freemasonry.
This month’s guest, Arturo de Hoyos, 33rd Degree, is also a Grand Cross. He is also currently the Grand Archivist and Grand Historian of the Scottish Rite...
The Master Craftsman Program is a pen and paper, old school by-mail correspondence course that walks its participants through the Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide – a huge tome compiled and annotated by Arturo de Hoyos – the Grand Archivist and Grand Historian of the Supreme Council. It is one of the only official masonic education courses in the world, and it is open to anyone willing to take the time to complete it. Yep, even women and non-masons.
While no secret handshakes or passwords are reviled in the two courses that make up the program – the much larger secret of Freemasonry is. That secret is this: when the lessons of the degrees are recognized, then applied to one’s life, a more virtuous and honorable person emerges, and their feeling of a personal connection to God has increased manifold.
This hardly sounds like a secret, but it is. It’s hard to accomplish. Try it, once.
And that’s exactly what people taking Master Craftsman course are doing right now. They are trying to apply the lessons of the 29 Scottish Rite Degrees directly to their lives, first through reading and reflection – then by action.
On this month’s show, we take a peek at some of this work from around the country. All of the essays you will hear came from the same exam – specifically Quiz 3 from Master Craftsman 2. They are stories of great mortal peril leading to personal revelation, unswerving looks at solving the problems of contemporary society and a carefully reconsidered look at the definition of a virtue we thought we could agree on. There may be views expressed that don’t necessarily comport with your own, because these stories are all very personal to those telling them. But, as you will soon see, because of the universality of the subject matter, you almost can’t help but to feel their experiences as your own.
We start with Eric Simms in Texas and his thoughts on heroism…
This is The Life Masonic, I’m your host, Jason Van Dyke.
As I was preparing the show for this month, I got an interesting piece of feedback from a listener. He suggested that we include a piece about the upcoming web event being hosted by the Supreme Council. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about - never fear, details are coming)
Well, it was a really good idea. One I am ashamed to admit I hadn’t thought of. And the more that I thought about it, the more I wanted to do a whole show around it.
The entire staff here at the Supreme Council is in some way involved with this project, and has been for about 3 or 4 months already. So, I thought I’d take a microphone around the building and talk to people about what the event will be, their involvement with the event, and what preparations they have already made.
Image:© Maxwell MacKenzie, Washington, D.C.
On this month’s show we continue a conversation started last month with Eric Diamond in Chicago about technology and Freemasonry. This time, we move across the country and visit with our old friend John Liley, the past Grand Master of Utah. We also hear some feedback gathered from the web about one Mason's experience using tech in his Lodge. Overall, another jam-packed episode. So enough with the reading, and start with the listening. This is The Life Masonic.
Oh great and mighty internet, we'd really like some feedback, if you please.
Tell us if you like/dislike the show. Tell us what we can do to improve it. Give us ideas for future shows (our job just isn't easy enough; we'd like you to help). Be honest, but please be kind.
You can leave us your thoughts here by clicking the comments link to the right over there, or you can email us at thelifemasonic at gmail dot com. (We did that to confuse and irritate spammers - spineless letches.) You can call us and leave a message, too - 442-777-3579. Or,
stalk follow us on Twitter @TheLifeMasonic or on our Facebook page.
Any of those are acceptable. Just talk to us, please. We miss you.
It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people. It took Television 14 years to accomplish the same. The internet did it in just 4.
We are moving faster today than ever before. And Freemasonry may seem like an anachronism in a world that thrusts forward in ever increasing spasms of technological progress. But here we are, almost three hundred years old and still going.
Here’s the kicker, though – In a fraternal tradition that specifically bans innovation in its ritual and practice – the ways in which members from around the world meet, communicate and bond has changed so much over just the past 50 years – it would seem like magic to our brethren of the past.
So this month we present you with a story so big, we had to split it up into parts. First, I talk to Eric Diamond in Chicago about Freemasonry and design – how he uses technology for his Lodge, and what advice he has for others looking to integrate tech into their Lodge lives.
Then, next time, I talk again to John Liley, the past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Utah, and how he has leveraged tech to help grow his Grand Lodge smarter and more responsibly.
Two big thinkers in Masonry – two big episodes. Hold your iPhone close, and grab a comfortable seat – this is the Life Masonic.
Stan Dodd is the Associate Director of Membership Services for the Scottish Rite, SJ. Along with the Director of the department, Dean Alban, they tavel A LOT. And in those travels they pick up great stories for the Masons they meet. This month, we hear a couple of stories from those Masons. They are each inspirational and Masonic in their own way, but they are each great examples of how an individual can find strength when he most needs it.
On this month’s show, we talk about leadership. And where better to go for that than the head of the organization – the Sovereign Grand Commander himself.
A native of Baton Rouge, LA, Ronald A. Seale has served for 7 years as the 18th Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, the mother supreme council of the World. Not a bad title.
But he’ll be the first to quickly add that he tied his plain white lambskin apron on just like you did, and that he stands no higher than any other Master Mason in his Lodge. And admittedly, it’s corny, until you get to know him and you realize he’s not just saying that – but that he truly and deeply believes it.
I recently sat down a talked with him about his leadership style, where he learned it from, his tolerance for leaf blowers, and what he hopes to accomplish in the future and be remembered for.
On this month's episode, we look at cornerstones. Specifically, the cornerstone of the House of the Temple, the headquarters building of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
On October 18th, 2011 (the one-hundred year anniversary of the original cornerstone's laying), the Grand Lodge of the Disctrict of Columbia with help from the Grand Lodges of Maryland and Virginia re-enacted the Masonic cornerstone ceremony of 1911.
On this episode, we bring you the audio of this event, interspesed with color commentary from Ill. S. Brent Morris, 33*, Grand Cross, the Managing editor of The Scottish Rite Journal and author of Cornerstones of Freedom, a book about the history and traditions of Masonic cornerstone ceremonies.
Tuesday, October 18th will mark the 100-year anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. The House of the Temple is not just one of the premier Masonic buildings in the world, it is also one of the world's greatest buildings, period.
Built between 1911 and 1915 and designed by the famous Neo-Classical architect John Russell Pope, the House of the Temple is a landmark in Neo-Classicism. It was Pope's first monumental commission and helped win him other important commissions in Washington such as the National Archives, the National Gallery of Art, and the Jefferson Memorial.
In celebration of its centenary, there will be a public re-enactment of the laying of the cornerstone by the Grand Master of Masons in the District of Columbia, Most Worshipful Jesse Villareal, and his Grand Lodge on Tuesday.
The Life Masonic will be there, and we will try and share some of the best moments from the events surrounding this wonderful event. So stay tuned for Episode 3: Cornerstone, coming your way at the end of the month.
S and F -
On today’s show we highlight one of the most discussed topics in Lodge rooms and chat rooms around the world – youth in Freemasonry.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little apprehensive of this subject because I don’t know if there’s anything new or interesting left to say on this subject. But with this show’s guest, there just isn’t any way around it. He’s young, he’s a Mason, and he’s a leader in every sense of the word.
But first, let’s get some perspective. I talked to Dean Alban, the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction’s Director of Membership Services about what he sees in terms of membership and the effect of an influx of youth on it. He also shares a story about a recent experience he’s had with a young Mason and how even though he is a very unique individual, the reasons he became a Mason are anything but.
Hail, Fellows out there in podcast land!
Welcome to The Supreme Council's (SJ, USA) new podcast, The Life Masonic. We just posted the first podcast episode yesterday, and are busy scurrying around and editing the second. So far the reaction has been great, and we are seeing people download the show from all over the world - some as far away as Indonesia!
We truely hope you enjoy it and want to hear what you think. Leave a comment below, or leave us a voice message at 442-777-3579. Follow us on Twitter @TheLifeMasonic, or check us out on Facebook. (Be sure to give us a "like" while you're there!)
Thanks for tuning in, and hope to hear from you soon -
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On our first episode we talk with S. Brent Morris, 33*, Grand Cross, the Managing Editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, and all-around well-known Masonic scholar. Brent talks about his early attempts at research and then explains how you can do it, too.
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