As I'm sure many American and Canadian Masons will attest, if you are a Freemason, at least once in your lifetime, you will receive a petition to join the Shrine. I have received three. My maternal grandfather was a Shriner but my paternal grandfather stayed away from Shrine. Each made a conscious decision concerning whether to join Shrine.
I'm not yet convinced to join Shrine. I'm not looking for a scotch and cigar club as I drink very little and never smoke. I don't like circuses (I'm still scared of clowns at 30 years of age). And if you ask my wife, she'll tell you that I'm just not a parade guy (too many years in marching band killed any joy in them). So I have to ask, is there anything else? I donate to the hospitals and I appreciate the Legion of Honor Degree Team but is there anything besides parties, cigars, parades, and clowns?
I started to think about clubs that would interest me. During one of the many petition situations, I was told that clubs were "the thing" when it comes to Shrine but they can get expensive. As I looked through the lists, not a lot was popping out at me.
"Parade, parade, parade... clowns [shivers]
Then I thought, "why not a club for gamers?" Nah, I play video games at home.
"Why not a tabletop RPG or Magic club?" Again, I play these at home. (Well, not these anymore since I have no friends who play them. Perhaps a +1 to Charisma?)
"Hmm, a Shrine movie club?" Maybe but still, probably not.
Every idea coming to me was something I did with my friends without requiring a "group" to organize them. We just did them.
I've been told that there's a lot of family activities, which is cool, but I really need more to jump in and join. I mean, are these family events something I could just do at my lodge? My lodge is already pretty open to family events as it is, what with family picnics, table lodges, and sweethearts' nights. Are the Shrine events that much better or significantly different?
And, I'm not trying to belittle Shrine. The hospitals are important and wonderful institutions dedicated to alleviating pain and suffering of kids. I just want to know if there's something for a guy like me outside of my yearly check to Shriners' Hospitals.
Help me out Shriners and non-Shriners. Why have you or haven't you joined Shrine? Comment below.