Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knighthood or Bust




Today I start my first order in the commandery, the Order of Red Cross. As I think some of you may remember, I was hemming and hawing about even petitioning for the orders. I guess I should put my lists down again:

Wants:
To learn about chivalry.
To practice chivalry.
To feel close to my paternal grandfather who was a Sir Knight.
To be an honorable man and true to his word through the lessons of knighthood.
To carry a sword because, well, it’s freakin’ cool to carry a sword.
To learn about the history of early knighthood, and what it meant to be an historical knight.
To present papers on topics of Chivalry.
Don’t Want:
To do an excessive amount of drill.
To join an evangelical Christian organization.
To be a Civil War Re-enactor.
To join a Masonic body that believes all Masons should be Christian.
To swear an oath to harm others of a different religion.
After I thought about it, I decided that my family connection to the Masonic Templarism should win out. My paternal grandfather, Dick Johnson, was Sir Knight with St. Bernard Commandery No. 13 of Austin, MN. I felt that I should see what interested him. My grandpa was a good man and a dutiful Mason and I find as many ways as possible to emulate him.

The commandery I'm joining is Faribault Commandery No. 8 of Faribault. It's a small town commandery but with a lot of opportunities for growth. My degree work is being performed by Damascus Commandery No. 1 of Saint Paul. I want to thank the sir knights there for allowing me to be a courtesy.

I'm excited to see what this next avenue has in store for me. I'll let you know.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

Congratulations on the 1st degree. The Order of Malta is a nice one, and the Order of the Temple is...well words don't adequately describe it.

However, I've found that history and philosophy stop after the degrees. It's just business meetings and pot lucks after that, which is a real shame, given the wealth of knowledge out there. Hopefully your asylum is different.

You should reconsider drilling. It has been a real bright spot in my York career.

Remember though that Templars were monks first, and knights second, and most Templars weren't actually fighting men at all. If you want to understand them, learn about the Cistercian Order (hint: Bernard of Clairveaux). While you're at it, contemplate the Cooke Manuscript to begin to see the true relationship between Freemasons and Templars . Just kidding; the truth is less dramatic than the myth, but more meaningful for us brethren.

Jeff said...

Whoops, it stripped out my "insert evil laughter" comment (I didn't realize HTML tags were enabled) that was just before the "Just kidding" line. For the record, I'm absolutely serious about the Cooke Manuscript.

Joppa said...

I agree with Jeff's comment--the Orders are spectacular when done well, but otherwise Commandery is just another Masonic body with bad hats and more awards. And I'm not sure you understand what "chivalry" is, as it has absolutely no connection to modern-day "Knights Templar" and very little connection to (or observance by) the actual KTs centuries ago. Interesting that you so easily set aside the religious arguments against joining. Family connections are indeed a strong and admirable reason, but at how high a cost to your Masonic ideals? Or were these reasons against joining merely academic and not heartfelt?

Nick Johnson said...

Thanks Joppa. I would agree with you. Damascus is one of our more active commanderies here so the work is exceptional from what I saw tonight.

I think you misunderstand my two arguments concerning religion. I do have concerns that there is an evangelical push in some parts of the country, but from what I saw tonight, that does not exist here.

My second concern involves an appendant body attempting to wag the dog not that there is a problem with Christian orders within Masonry. There exist within Masonry, because of our history, organizations built around the Christian faith. In the articles of union during the creation of the UGLE stated that after the oft-quoted, "[i]t is declared and pronounced that pure and Ancient Craft Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, namely, those of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, including the Holy Royal Arch," that, "[t]his article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding meetings in any of the degrees of Chivalry, according to the Constitution of said Order." My concern is that some Sir Knights will not understand that there is a separation between lodge and commandery and try to carry over the Christian only belief system into lodge.

But I do understand your point and your argument has merit. At one time, there was an order for all Master Masons to parallel the commandery called the Order of the Maccabees. I believe it was only in New York. Perhaps that is the solution.

Nick

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt congratulations on your achievement, keep it up Brother Johnson.
Something peculiar struck my attention in your "Wants" and "Don't Want", actually the last item in the Don't Want "To swear an oath to harm others of a different religion." Well as Masons we never swear to harm, we swear to help and assist a brother regardless of his religion, color or his political attachments. Our brotherhood stands on three main elements if we can call them like that namely: Truth, Brotherly Love and Charity