The Masonic Trowel

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Recently I saw a Studebaker at an antique auto show. A real gussied up 1948 Studebaker bullet nose sedan. The model that was the peak of Studebaker styling – shortly before it ceased all vehicle production. It looked mint. The body panels were fair and smooth. The paint was perfect and well shined. The tires new. The windows clear and unblemished.

I asked the owner how it ran – He said, "Seldom!" He explained that replacement parts were hard to find and buy, it did not meet current emission standards, and, as a showpiece, he was unwilling to subject it to use and exposure that might result in damage. Further he explained, he was not willing to substitute parts, like an engine, transmission, or rear end, from other manufacturers that would enable him to use the car, or at least keep it running. These parts, he said, even though unseen, would change the car from what it was to something else even though it would be more usable and give it a longer life.

As I listened to the owners remarks, I suddenly thought, "This guy is talking about Grand Lodge Masonry." The setting was appropriate – a collection of antiques assembled so that the curious could appreciate the craftsmanship of a bygone era, at least the outside part they could see. The situation similar – A prestigious name but the supply of parts inadequate to replace those lost to the ravages of age, and unable to operate without restriction in its current environment.

The attitude of the owner was true antiquarian – Limit exposure that might result in damage, and NO SUBSTITUTION OF PARTS – even though they would strengthen the structure and add to it’s life.

The similarities between the Studebaker and Grand Lodge Masonry were startling!

It was apparent the owner and I were of different philosophies: The owner desired to maintain a museum piece which chronicled the perfection of a certain vehicle and manufacturer at a certain time; while I, on the other hand, would retain the outward appearance and the basic structural elements used as a foundation for the vehicle, and substitute new parts and materials necessary to extend its usable life.

These differences are reflected in Masonic thought today.

Is Grand Lodge Masonry to become the Studebaker of Fraternities?

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Last modified: March 22, 2014