Monday, January 3, 2011

Out of the Walled Garden

Well readers, I have decided to get back into blogging after many months of nothing, which I’m sure has been a relief for all of you. During my tenure as Master, I was spending much of my free time, what little I had, on lodge duties. I loved the job of Master because I was able to dispense what little Masonic light I had on our newly admitted brothers. As I have stepped away from that role to my new role as Lodge Education Officer, I have been reexamining how I would like to present my Masonic ideas going forward.

There was a time when Masonic blogs flourished. The internet was an open playground for ideas and brothers would present them with the hope of them catching on. Then Facebook came on the scene. All of a sudden, the great research disappeared, hidden behind an ivy covered gate, never to be explored or scrutinized by anyone but a small group with similar opinions.

Facebook is the preeminent walled garden on the internet. Some of you might be asking yourself, what’s a walled garden? Well, in technology, especially in internet circles, a walled garden is a closed system designed to give a user a smaller set of information or applications \ to simplify the experience. In some cases, a walled garden can be a good thing. Web sites and the information on them are more varied than snowflakes. However, certain subjects are not necessarily aided by a closed system, especially if they are already a niche to begin with. I believe that Masonry is one of those niches.

There are many message boards online for Masonic subjects and most are closed. Now, any brother who delves into internet Masonry knows that if you’ve never actually sat in lodge with a brother, you should not be discussing Masonic secrets online, in any forum. In Minnesota, our Manual defines what a Masonic secret is and it is fairly easy to decide what can and cannot be discussed online. I have been wondering why message boards for Masonic subjects are often closed considering that secrets are not to be divulged without due examination of the brother. My only conclusion is to create a walled garden.

Our ideas are our own and should not be filtered except in accordance with our own Grand Lodge’s policies or for general editing. There are many issues and best practices that need to be addressed in Masonry. Research into Masonry should be open in so far as is allowable based on our obligations. That is why I am going to avoid closed message boards for awhile. I want to focus on what a lodge needs to grow, the history of our Fraternity, why a young man petitions, and the interesting world of Masonic jurisprudence. I can only accomplish this if I open my research to you to comment, unfiltered and unabridged.

So my readers, I hope to give you my broad perspective on the myriad subjects that strike my fancy. I hope you will join me on my quest for further light in Masonry, outside the wall.


The Plumbline said...

Agreed. I've noticed the quality of masonic blogs, at least the ones indexed by kingsolomonslodge, have gone down considerably. Hopefully, 2011 will bring new light on the topic.

Magus Masonica said...

Facebook allows those of us with ideas that lay outside the mainstream to eliminate the harassment and bullying of those zealots who find the browbeating of others a Masonic virtue.

Most blogs have died off because what else is there to say?

I don't say this for myself as I am blogging more than ever. I am also using Facebook to full potential with great results.