Thursday, June 22, 2017

Obituary: Alfred E. Garner

Alfred E. Garner passed away, peacefully at his home on Wednesday morning, June 21, 2017. He is preceded in death by his father, Sam Wiley Garner, his mother, Retha Stephens, and brothers, Billy Garner and Johnny Garner Sr. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Bonnie K. Crabtree Garner; his three children, Sheila Garner Stilts, (fiancé, Curt Brown), son, Dennis E. Garner, and daughter, Beth Garner LaVeau (husband, Greg); seven grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; sisters, Kathleen Gibson and Edith Hutton; sister-n-law, Stella Garner; and many nieces and nephews. Alfred was a retired truck driver for Kroger, with 32 years of service. He was a man who loved his family and friends all the days of his life. He served his country early in life in the United States Marine Corps and always had a strong love for God and country. Visitation will be Friday, June 23, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Miller Funeral Home. A Masonic and Military Interment services to honor Alfred as a Master Mason of Rockford Lodge No. 469 and as a former Marine will be held 11 a.m. Saturday June 24, 2017, at Sherwood Memorial Gardens. Rev. Raymond Clore and Rev. Kent Sellars officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Rockford Masonic Lodge in memory of Alfred E. Garner. Masonic Service will be at 7:00 pm on Friday, June 23.

Friday, April 21, 2017

From the East

Hello brothers,

 Since I was initiated as an entered apprentice I have been blessed with a new bunch of family (brothers). I know that I can count on my family no matter what and they can count on me. I never knew that that kind of trust and devotion could extend from my blood family to my masonic family. Over the past few years I have seen first hand exactly what masons can do to help a brother or his family. While taking my journey through masonry. My brothers have picked me up when I have fallen, Pushed me back on the path when I have started to wander,and taught me that I can be better than I ever imagined I could be. My brothers have taught me what love and charity truly are. I love being a mason and I love seeing how masonry as a whole can make great changes in our communities and our states and our country. We need all of our brothers who can to join us in the lodge so we can do more to help our community.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

From the South



Hello Brethren and greetings from the South,

I am proud to say that we had a very successful 2nd annual community Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 14th. This event’s success was evident by the smiles seen on the children’s faces and the jubilant laughter heard throughout the park. There is no greater joy than to see a smile on a child’s face. The good we provided to the community through this charitable event was obviously noticed by other parents in the crowd, as we had 2 different men approach, ask questions about Masonry, and ultimately asked for petitions! It is nice to know that our light is bright and the community sees what we do. A special thanks to all brothers that donated and helped with this event.

Please know that we have another opportunity to shine for our next upcoming event on May, 20th @ 6:00 p.m. This completely free Spaghetti Dinner for the community will be a first for us, and a great way to give back to the community.

I would like to share a recent experience of mine with you. As a relatively young Mason I had not yet, until recently, had the opportunity to travel to another lodge. Quite frankly, I was a little apprehensive to do so. I have listened to the teachings of Free Masonry by the Past Masters in my lodge, and I have heard their various stories. They taught me that Free Masonry is a brotherhood that reaches the 4 corners of the Earth. That we are all brothers regardless of our lodge. I did indeed believe all this, but as a young Mason I had developed a certain comfort and familiarity with being at my own lodge with my “own brothers”. So there came a time in early March where a group of Past Masters (Joe Mencer, Shane Lowe, and Mark Dixson) strongly urged me to travel with them to visit another lodge. The purpose of the visit was to meet the brother that had the great honor of being the 4th living person raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on the floor of the Tennessee Grand Lodge. As Rockford Lodge No. 469 hosts this event, meeting with the brother and speaking to his lodge is needed as part of the pre-event planning. It turns out what I had agreed to was not just to travel across town and visit another lodge, but rather to pack my bags and travel across state. Union City Lodge No. 538 is the farthest point from Rockford while still being in the state. On the long drive there, the other brothers seemed calm, but I was more than nervous. I asked myself many questions such as: Would they be nice to us? What would their lodge look like? Would they open the same way as us? Would they say the same things? Etc… It was a long trip, I was tired, I was hungry….but upon arrival, my wants were relieved by a brother who had prepared a wonderful meal for us. We were greeted, fed, talked to, catered to and treated with extreme friendliness. We also had the tremendous honor of meeting and talking at great length with Casey Hood, the about to be installed MWGM of the state of Tennessee.  I felt the same comfort as I did when I was at my own lodge. It was like going to a family reunion where everyone knows you and loves you, but just hadn’t seen you in a few years. I was amazed and relieved……The Past Masters were right. Masonry is a brotherhood that extends past your own lodge. For me, a trip to another lodge solidified this very important lesson. I strongly encourage you to travel to another lodge if able…..and of course, give the same brotherly love to those that travel to our lodge. Your single smile, hand shake, or kind word may be the very thing that helps a visiting brother realize a valuable lesson as I did.

From the West



To all the brothers out there in the masonic world and Rockford Lodge No. 469,

I hope you had a great Easter holiday. To those of you that missed out we had a great Easter Egg Hunt at Rockford Park for the community. There was good participation and the children really loved it. A special Thanks goes to JW Kevin Kirkpatrick for all the hard work. If it were not for Kevin and the help of the brothers of Rockford Lodge, this Easter Egg Hunt event would not have happened. A special thanks to all the brothers of Rockford Lodge that wish to attend some of or all of our events. 

For more pictures of the 2017 Easter-egg Hunt click HERE

Here are some upcoming events: The spaghetti supper on May 20th at 6:00p.m.. We will also soon be having a barbecue dinner and if that's not enough we will have a steak dinner that cannot be beat. More details on these events coming soon.  Not only do we like to eat we also have scheduled turkey shoots for Saturday, April 22nd and 29th at 8:00 a.m. at the Rockford football field….and don't think this is all we have to do this year, we also have scheduled the very first car show for August 12th at Rockford Park. Needless to say we need all participation from all members that would like to come out and help and be part of our events. As you know, we have practice on Thursdays and stated meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month. We eat at 6:00 p.m.. God bless you, be safe, and come out and play.

Friday, January 27, 2017

From the East


Brethren,

 I am honored to serve this year as worshipful master. I am looking forward to a great year, and seeing you my brothers at the lodge this year. We have a lot of good things planned for the upcoming months. Again I hope to see you at the lodge. I wanted to begin this year's trestleboard with an Old Tyler Talks that I find particularly interesting.

Your's in the light,
Thomas Kittrell W.M.


"I am almost through!" The New Brother displayed a sheaf of cards to the Old Tiler. "Soon I will have joined them all and become every kind of Mason there is."
"What do you know about the kinds of Masons there are?" asked the Old Tiler, interested. "You have not been a Master Mason long enough to gain all that knowledge!"
"That's not hard to gain, with all the brethren poking petitions at you. There are Scottish Rite Masons and York Rite Masons and Templar Masons and Chapter Masons and Council Masons and..."
"Oh!" the syllable said much.  The Old Tiler added,  "I didn't understand.  I thought you couldn't have learned yet."
"Learned what? Are there some more kinds of Masons?"
"Indeed, yes! answered the Old Tiler.  "A great many kinds.  But seven you haven't mentioned stand out more prominently than others."
"Do tell me! I thought I had joined most of them..."
"You don't join these. You become one, or are made one, or grow into one of them. For instance, there is the King Solomon Mason. He thinks that everything that Solomon did as a Mason is right and everything he didn't do is wrong. To him Masonry was conceived, born and grew up in the shadow of King Solomon, and every word of the legend is literally true, much like the man who refuses to believe the earth is round, because a verse in the Bible refers to the 'four corners of the earth!' The King Solomon Mason lives his Masonry according to his light; perhaps it's not his fault it is so dim.
"To the ritual Mason the importance of Masonry is the form of its words. A good Mason in his belief is one who can repeat a lecture from end to end without a slip. A man may do battle, murder, or cause sudden death, commit arson or run away with a neighbor's wife; if he knows his ritual letter perfect, it 'was all a mistake!' The man who doesn't know his ritual letter perfect is not, in this man's eyes, a good Mason; not though he give to charity with both hands and carry love for his fellowman in both head and heart.
"The practical Mason looks at life from a utilitarian standpoint. He prefers electricity to candles for Lesser Lights because they are simpler and prefers candles to electricity because they are cheaper. He thinks a choir impractical because it produces nothing permanent, and would rather spend the money for printed matter or a new carpet. He is at his best when raising money for a new temple and at his worst when asked to express himself upon the spirit of Masonry. His hand is in his pocket for charity, but never for entertainment. He is usually on the finance committee, and recommends a budget in which rent and heat and light are bigger than relief.
"The heart Mason is the opposite. He is full of impractical schemes. He wants to start a new temple which will never be built. He talks much of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, but is absent when the hat is passed and the committee on funds needs a few workers to go out and gather in. The heart Mason is the lodge sob-sister; he usually seconds any motion to spend any amount of money for flowers or to send a brother away for his health, and always makes a little tear-filled speech about the fatherless loved ones, even if the dear departed died a bachelor.
The business Mason belongs because he thinks it helps his job. He usually sits next to the solid businessman in lodge and likes to tell people what he does. If he is a Past Master, he never comes to lodge on time, so that he can get a special welcome at the Altar. His favorite speech is about the man who tried to advertise his business in lodge and how evil this was; in the speech he always mentions his own business. He wears an extra large sized pin and prints squares and compasses on his letterheads.
"We dominate another kind by the expressive term of belly Mason.  He is most faithful in attendance at lodges where there may be a feed. He will cheerfully spend twenty cents carfare and a long evening to get a fifteen-cent sandwich. If there is to be a sit-down meal he will sit up all night to be on time. If the affair is in another lodge and needs tickets he will take time off from his job to hunt a brother who has a ticket and doesn't want it. He usually manages to cross the lodge room while the cigars are passed so he can dig into the box twice. If the crowd is small, he is the last man to get a smoke, so he can take all that are left. If the crowd is large, he is among the first, to make sure he doesn't get left.
"And then there is the regular Mason -  the fellow who does his best with the time and brains he has. He is the great bulk of the fraternity. He pays the dues and fills the chairs and does the work. He is seldom a fine ritualist, but he is usually an earnest one. He is not very practical, and would spend more than we have if it wasn't that he is too sentimental to permit the charity fund to be robbed. He passes the sandwiches and coffee, and if there is any left he gets his; but he doesn't care so long as the evening is a success. He isn't a student, but something in the heart of Masonry has reached deep into his heart, and so he comes to lodge and does his best. He is not learned, but he is not stupid. He is not hidebound, and yet he is conservative. He loves his lodge, but not so much he cannot see her faults. He is most of us."
"And what class of Mason am I?" asked the New Brother, uneasily looking at his sheaf of cards.
"You have cards enough to be considered a Mason for almost any reason," answered the Old Tiler. "But I'll take your word for it. What kind of Mason are you?"
"I don't know for sure, but I know what kind I am never going to be!" answered the New Brother, putting his many cards away.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

From the South

Brethren,

With warmest greetings and brotherly love, I wish each of you a Happy New Year and hope your holiday season was filled with the joys of peace, family, relaxation, and of course good food.

It is an exciting time for Rockford Masons as we start this new year. Our calendar is filled with various fund raisers, community service events, and family nights that I am certain will be successful, rewarding, and fun for all of us. As we have always done, I encourage each of you to continue to participate in whatever way you can. Rockford Masons are known for their dedication, hard work, charity, and the good we provide for the community. I am proud of each and every one of you!

January and February will be relatively slow months as we plan, prepare, and ramp up for our full schedule throughout the rest of the year.

We will have our Awards Night Saturday, February 25th at 6:00 p.m.
This is a pot luck dinner and family are encouraged to attend. We hope to see you there!

Yours,
J.W. Kevin Kirkpatrick

From the West


Brethren,

It is with the greatest honor that I serve as your Senior Warden for the 2017 year.  As Senior Warden one of my duties is to pay the wages to those brothers who have been participating in the great work that your lodge is involved in, as well as informing you of that work.

Last month we held the installation of officers where your new Worshipful Master (Thomas Kittrell), Junior Warden (Kevin Kirkpatrick), and myself took our posts and receive our instruction of duties. The Worshipful Master's banquet preceded the event with chicken provided by the Eastern Star. I personally would like to thank those ladies for the wonderful food as well as all the help and services they provided over the last year. Pictures of the event will be posted as soon as they are returned.

On the same day as the installation, the officers, wives, and children participated in the Rockford Christmas parade. As is the case every year, we gave away a lot of candy and it was a great time.


Lastly, thank you to those Masons and their loved ones who came out on Christmas morning and helped deliver food to those home bound individuals in our area. Meals on Wheels has provided a wonderful opportunity, if you haven't participated in the past, Please consider it next Christmas. This year we took four routes and the Worshipful Master was very pleased with the results.

Again to all our members: Thank you for your work and I look forward to a wonderful new year.

Yours,
S.W. Randy Jackson

Friday, November 4, 2016

Important notices

Brethren,

There are a few changes to the schedule that you need to be aware of. First, the Veterans day breakfast has been moved to next Saturday (Nov. 12th) at 8am. It will be $5 a person, Veterans, Active Duty & First Responders eat FREE!

Second, it is my pleasure to announce that at this year's Rockford Table Lodge we will be joined by the Prince Hall Masons and as such this will be an untiled event, though it will be Masons only. This decision has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Grand Master and as these Masons have helped to support Blunt County masonry in the past, I hope you will aid us in welcoming these brothers to one of our favorite events. Brothers, let me reassure you, no bounds are being crossed, this event is not ritual and as I said this has the endorsement of the Grand Master.

As usual, the Table Lodge will be potluck with Rockford providing the main meat and Kilts are welcomed. It will be held on Nov 22 (we eat at 6pm)

Yours in the light,
Dustin Wade W.M.

Friday, July 15, 2016

From the South


Brethren,

This month marks the last of our slow months this year, It's all uphill from here.

Next month, August 27th is our 3rd annual steak dinner. A cook from Ye Olde Steakhouse will be coming out to cook Ribeyes. Cost is $10 and will include a baked potato, salad and drink. Desserts will be sold by the Eastern Star.  We will have tickets next week or you can pay at the door.

September 10th we will be making tamales starting at 8:00 am and joining the Boyscouts for a roadside clean up at 12:00. Tamales are $12 a dozen and will be sold through January.

September 24th will be a lodge cleanup day and we will have a family night potluck on the 29th Eat at 6:00 pm

Gentlemen, we have a lot coming up. please continue to help me make this another great year at Rockford 469.

Yours,
J.W. Chris Seaton





From the West


Brethren,

I hope this finds you well and the heat is not affecting anyone too much. This summer has been brutal but as always Rockford pushes through.

At the beginning of June we had our official visit. I would like to thank Brother Jess for taking the time to answer our questions and joining in our fellowship as well to all of the brethren that came out on a very stormy night.

We also held our 3rd annual Summer Days BBQ and it was a success! It was wonderful to visit with the brethren, their families and the community. A special thanks to the Eastern Star for coming out and selling deserts. If anyone has pictures from this event, please send them to the Lodge Email Rockfordtn469@gmail.com so we can get them on the website.

Lastly thank you to everyone that came out for the Widows and Orphans Dinner.  We served 3 widows and one orphan this year.

Yours in the Light,
T.C. Kitrell, S.W.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Andrew Swicegood



Andrew Madison Swicegood, age 69, of Sweetwater, passed away on Thursday, July 07, 2016. He was a 32nd degree Mason, Past Master of the Sweetwater Free and Accepted Masons Masonic Lodge # 292. Retired after 47 years of service to the government of the United States of America. Preceded in death by his parents, Cordell and Edith Swicegood of Alcoa; brother, John Swicegood of Maryville; sisters, Louise Hughes of Arizona, Linda Byrd, Maryville; brother-in-law, Robert Wynn, Arizona; beloved wife and mother of his children, Rose Swicegood. Survivors include his wife, Debra Jean Swicegood of Sweetwater; daughter, Martha Jane Swicegood and fiancĂ© Geoffrey, Huntoon of New Market, MD., Daniel Lindsey Swicegood, of the home, Samuel Francis Swicegood of Cincinnati, OH., Paul Lauer-Klein and wife Sarah, of Madisonville, Jennifer Anne Jeffries, Missouri, Christopher Jeffries, of the home, Joshua Adam Jeffries and wife Katie, of Atlanta, GA.; 6 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; brothers, Henry (Renee) Swicegood of Louisville, TN., Mike (SungAe) Swicegood, of Colorado; sisters, JoAnn Wynn of Arizonian, Martha and Larry Chambers, of Alcoa; numerous nieces and nephews; and devoted friend, Jimmy Cranfill of Sweetwater. The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, July 10, 2016, at Kyker Funeral Homes, Sweetwater, followed by a Masonic Service at 4:00 p.m. in Kyker’s Chapel. Kyker Funeral Homes, Sweetwater, in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

From the South

Brethren,
Though we don't have a lot going on this month, we are gearing up for one of our biggest events of the year, the Summer Days BBQ at Rockford on June 18th 3:00pm - 6:00pm.
3 Meats, 3 Sides, Live Music, Bounce house for the kids.
$10 per person
Children 6-10 $5
Children under 6 eat free.

May 28th we will be working on the flowerbed at the lodge and could use any extra help.

Don't forget our official visit is June 2nd.

Yours,
J.W. Christopher Seaton

Monday, May 9, 2016

From the West


Brethren,

A lot has been going on at the lodge lately and we apologize for the delay in updates.  Firstly, March's Grand lodge degree went wonderfully. Thank you to all the brethren across the state that participated in the work.

A special thanks to brother Kevin Kirkpatrick for putting on a very successful first Rockford Community Easter Egg Hunt which was also his first as event coordinator. we had around 40 children and look forward to making this a rockford tradition.

For More Photos of the Easter egg hunt, Click Here.

We also held a family game night in March the night before "international tabletop game day" though the turn out was modest, we had a lot of fun.

In April we held 3 very successful turkey shoots and an EA Degree. thank you to brothers Shane, Dustin, Kevin, Murphy and Chris for help with the turkey shoots.


Yours,
S.W. Thomas Kitrell


Monday, March 14, 2016

Obituary


Harley Hobart Clouse, age 91, of Rockford, passed away Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Summit View-Farragut in Knoxville. Preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ruby Clouse and parents, Conley and Alice Kivett. Survivors include his son, Vernon Clouse of Rockford, son and daughter in law, Gerald and Marilyn Clouse of Maryville; daughter and son in law, Teresa and Wayne Mouser of Maryville; grandchildren, Todd and Tonya Clouse, Melody and Ronnie Pryor and Jason Mouser; several great grandchildren; two great great grandchildren; brothers, Talbert and wife Bobbie Kivett and Gene Kivett; sister, Bernice and husband, Bobby Thomas; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral service 7:00 PM Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at Miller Funeral Home Cedar Chapel, Rev. Butch Cooper officiating. Entombment service 12:00 PM Wednesday at Sherwood Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: St. Jude Tribute Program, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0412. The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM Tuesday at Miller Funeral Home, Maryville, (865) 982-6041,www.millerfuneralhome.org

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

INSPIRATIONAL: THREE STORIES


Brethren:

Three stories I have to share with you this evening that I find rather relevant to our current times.

JUSTICE SCALIA AND JUSTICE GINSBURG

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed from this life recently.  You may have seen a line item of it in the news.  What many don't know is that his ideological opponent on the High Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was his closest friend.

The two took many trips together with their respective families.  During one trip to India, Ginsburg and Scalia rode an elephant together.  When a photo of the two resurfaced, Ginsburg caught flack from her office over the fact that she was riding behind "Nino" on the elephant.

Her response? "It was all about weight distribution."

When Scalia would get asked about his friendship with "The Notorious R.B.G," he would respond "Don't be stupid.  You can still be friends with someone and not like their ideas."

In fact, the two would often exchange drafts of dissents or opinions they'd written to each other well in advance.  Ginsburg said at Scalia's memorial service that she relished the days when Scalia would send her drafts of his opinions.  "It challenged me to think about things I didn't agree with.  It opened me up to ideas that I didn't like."

THE OLD LADY, THE JUDGE, AND THE BIKER DIVORCE

In our state, there was a divorce trial where a known biker who was a methamphetamine dealer was filing for divorce from his wife.  The biker was never going to pay his wife any sort of alimony, and the wife knew it.  She worked with the attorneys to "downward deviate" the plan to a point where she didn't get a dime of alimony.

When the final order was presented to the Court, the judge said "Ma'am, you know there's no alimony in this order, right?"

"Yes."

"Do you really think that's a reason on which to hinge this divorce?"

"I don't care"

"Were you put in a position where you were required to sign this document by these attorneys?"

"No."

"Ma'am, I'll be happy to put in alimony for you."

"Just give me my divorce. He won't pay me a thing."


THE PRESIDENT AND HIS IMPEACHMENT

Andrew Johnson, one of our Brothers, made it clear that he was ready to make sure the former Confederacy lived with his predecessor's decisions, whether they liked it or not.

The people in Congress didn't like him or his ability to impose Reconstructionist ideologies on the southern states.  So they came up with a plan. Congress passed the "Tenure of Office Act," which made it a "high crime and misdemeanor" for a sitting President to fire a cabinet member absent the express permission of the Senate.

Johnson wanted to fire Edwin Stanton as his Secretary of War, and did.

He was the first President in history to be impeached. President Johnson had tickets sold to the trial of his impeachment.

One of the two Senators that filed the Articles of Impeachment against him was a brother Master Mason.

Warmest Regards,

Bro. Christopher Seaton
Junior Warden, Rockford Masonic Lodge #469




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Obituary



Paul Harvey Hinchey
(1929 - 2016)
Paul H. Hinchey, age 86, of Knoxville, passed away on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Select Specialty Hospital. He was a long standing member of Southside Baptist Church. Paul served in the U.S. Army; was a 32nd Degree Mason in the Rockford Lodge #469; and a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local Union #917. Preceded in death by parents, George and Minnie Hinchey; brother, George Hinchey, Jr.; sisters, Annalee Headrick, and Georgia Miller; granddaughter-in-law, Rebecca Norris. Survived by wife, Dorothy J. Hinchey; children, Patricia Norris, Rick (Lori) Hinchey; grandchildren, Brian (Kelly) Norris, Scott Norris, Liana (William) Mitchell, and MaKenze Hinchey; great-granddaughter, Ainsley Norris; and several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Tuesday, February 23, 2016 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm in the Chapel of Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Highway. The funeral service will follow at 7:00pm with Rev. Clarence Gresham officiating. Family and friends will meet Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at Mt. Olive Cemetery for a 2:00pm graveside service. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Kerbela Shriners, 315 Mimosa Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920 or, the charity of your choice. Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Inspirational: Kripkean Dogmatism, Confirmation Bias, Straw Man Arguments, and The Garden of the Senses

Brethren:

I'm of a strong mindset that learning new things is a great way to not only better yourself as a man, but also keep yourself healthy.  It's been shown learning about new areas of interest increases neural pathways in the brain, contributes to longevity, and staves Alzheimer's disease.

With that, I want to stray from the normal Masonic discussions and talk about three concepts I've uncovered recently, and how they apply to Freemasonry.

The first is something called Kripkean Dogmatism.  It was a philosophy founded by a guy named Saul Kripke.  Distilled to its plainest form, Kripkean Dogmatism says the mind will hold onto two or three facts about a subject and ignore potentially 97-98 other facts on the same subject to make sure their belief structure (the "Dogma") remains true!

Applying this to our Fraternity, if someone wants to believe that we are an allegedly Satanic Order with connections to aliens because it's something they saw on a History Channel "documentary" then they will continue to believe that despite the ninety-eight facts to the contrary, publicly available to those who choose to engage in a cursory search!

The second concept for discussion this evening is "confirmation bias."  This is a logical principle that says we want to believe what we think true so much that we will seek out people and ideas that believe the same things we do, even if that belief is mistaken or incorrect.  This is especially true in the Internet age, where Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and all sorts of social media allows us to keep ourselves thinking what we WANT to think is true.

Applying again this concept to our Fraternity, if someone wants to believe our Order is anti-Christian, they will do everything in their power to pay attention to those sources that say we are not Christian, because that's what they want to believe.  That person's worldview needs to believe Freemasonry can't be Christian, so they will work to find sources and people to support that view.

Now the "Straw Man Argument."  This is a logical fallacy where people pose an argument, and the responding party takes that argument, turns it into something completely different, proceeds to knock it down, and then declares victory.

Here is the "Straw Man Argument" in action when applied to our Fraternity.  "Freemasonry is a system of morality." "Freemasonry is misogynistic, so it can't be moral, because the Fraternity doesn't admit women."  The average Master Mason would then say "We don't admit women because," and the straw man argument would then be "If Freemasonry isn't misogynistic and amoral, then admit a woman into the Fraternity." You can't win at that point, and must therefore disengage because the person will not be amenable to the discussions that make our Order the bastion of enlightenment through the ages.

Tying all of this together, I leave you with a "therapeutic metaphor" described by Toronto therapist and hypnotist Mike Mandel.  On a trip to France, he and his wife visited a "garden of the senses."  This garden had beautiful flowers to view, wind chimes to hear the wind, berries to taste, plants one could smell, and certain plants like "lamb's ears" with a very kinesthetic (touch based) appeal.

While Mike was in this garden, he heard four French women conversing.  Mike was slightly knowledgeable of French, so he stopped to listen and see if he could understand their conversation.  The more he listened, the more he was proud of his ability to understand French.  It was a proud moment for him!  His linguistic studies were paying off!

It took Mike twenty minutes to finally realize the four women were speaking English with very heavy French accents.

I look forward to writing again for you all.

Warmest Regards,
Bro. Chris Seaton
Junior Warden, Rockford Lodge No. 469

FROM THE SOUTH

Brethren:

Hello again!  We're past our Stated Meeting, moving at a lightning pace, and going so fast this year that we're excited to see what's in store for the next ten months.

Our Stated Meeting saw us read the proposals for Grand Lodge next month, and discuss the Grand Lodge Degree (which will be a blast as it has been the last two times we've done it, so please come if you're going to Grand Lodge this year).

March is going to be a great month for us.

We're going to have a blast with the Lodge Maintenance Day and Roadside Cleanup activities on March 12, starting  8 AM.  This is an important task and community service we do, so if you're available and want to help keep our area clean, we'd love to have you.

We're moving the Lodge Maintenance and Roadside Cleanup day to the 12th because on March 5 we're going to take a trip to Sweetwater and visit our brethren there.  It's been nice to see brothers from Sweetwater show up at Rockford, and March 5 is their fish fry, so we're going to make a trip and eat like Rockford Masons do to support Sweetwater.

The 22-24th is Grand Lodge, and with it the Rockford Master Mason's degree.  We've raised people on the floor of the Grand Lodge in Nashville two times now and we hope to have an even larger audience this year.  If you'd like to take a part in this degree, either large or small, please contact us and we will point you in the right direction.  Regardless, this is not just a "must-see" event for Master Masons in Tennessee.  It's a "can't miss."  You will regret missing the Grand Lodge degree, just ask anyone who's been to one before!

March 26 will see us host an Easter Egg Hunt for children at the Lodge.  We pride ourselves on being very family friendly, and we encourage any Master Masons and their families who would be interested in such an event to show up at 9 AM.

Finally, we will close out March with another Family Night on the 31st.  We will eat at six, as usual.

I look forward to seeing all of you in the near future!

Best,
Bro. Chris Seaton
Junior Warden, Rockford Lodge #469


From the East


Brethren,

I'd like to talk to you a little this month about my early experiences running a lodge.  Having only been the Worshipful Master for a short time and having succumb to many of the fears new WMs face, I feel like it's a good time to talk about one aspect I have been faced with so far, committees. Committees are not something that should be dismissed. We assign committees for all kinds of things in the lodge. A committee can not function properly if it's members don't know how a committee works. First, the head of a committee should be viewed and should view himself as the organizer, not the leader. A brother might find himself in the roll of head of a committee and feel like he has to make all the decisions when in reality his only responsibility is organization and to facilitate communication. All members, to include the head, share equal work and input. For one member to take on the burden of the whole committee or to control it would dissolve the purpose in having a committee.
For those members not in a committee, look well to the decision of the committee. Those members were chosen by the WM to do the work or make the assessment. If you have a service or knowledge that may assist the committee do not be afraid to offer it but in the end trust in the wisdom of your brothers whether they take your advice or not.
Lastly, If you have never served on a committee please don't slide down in your seat the next time the WM is forming one. Our society could achieve nothing without the volunteer work of its members.

Yours in the Light
~WM Dustin E Wade (Buddha Biscuit)

FROM THE WEST


Brethren:

Greetings from Rockford! The month of January was as most can be for Rockford: a time of hibernation where we are adjusting to the new line, scheduling the calendar for the year, and working hard to make sure once February kicks into high gear we're off and rolling heavy.

January saw Rockford reset its vision and come into focus where we promote an environment "Where Masons Meet, Work Well Together, and Have Fun." That's been our goal for years, and the month of January was great for that.  A special thanks to all the Past Masters who came to meet with the Worshipful Master and Wardens to offer us advice on trying issues.

A big thanks to all the brethren who helped come out on the 9th to make tamales.  That's become such an important fundraiser for our lodge that we appreciate the work of all who show up to help.  

Another thank you goes out to our Senior Steward, Bro. William Murphy, who has kept us well fed and brought more Master Masons into our lodge on Stated Meeting nights due to his expert cooking ability.

February is almost to a close, and with it Rockford's beginning to take off at the normal lightning quick speed at which we have events, degrees, and planned events.  Keep an eye out.  We've got great things coming.

Regards,
Bro. T.C. Kittrell
Senior Warden, Rockford Lodge #469

Monday, February 1, 2016

FROM THE EAST


Brethren,

I would like to talk to you today about the meaning of charity. I feel that we often limit the meaning of this word to its simplest meaning, that which we learn in our first degree, giving money to those in distress. 

As masons we place symbols in high regard. I believe our ancestral brethren chose symbols, not out of a necessity for secrecy but because symbols can carry more meanings than words.

Charity, to me, means compassion. Though giving money to a distressed brother or worthy cause might be noble and in standing with the honorable history of freemasonry, in an effort to make good men better, we should look at WHY we give. Is it for the benefit of others, a since of duty to the fraternity, or because it feels good to us or even because it makes us look good? 

Take a moment to imagine yourself standing on a crowded subway. An old widow standing in front of you falls as the car lurches around a bend in the track. What do you do? You reach out and catch her! Do you stop to think "I should catch her because I will be a hero, or because it is what is expected of me?" If you did she would hit the floor. No, you react instantly because you instinctually know that not to act would cause harm. 

This is how we should approach charity. Not as a self serving sacrifice but as compassion. The true love and connection with our fellow man. So I ask, when next you are face with the option to give, be it money, time or even an ear to listen, approach it, not with a since of duty or honor, but with compassion in your heart.

Warmest Regards, 
Dustin Wade 
Worshipful Master, Rockford Lodge No. 469