One thing that I have had to deal with since being made a Freemason back on September 19, 2009, is not just the ignorance many have with the Craft, but the downright hostility as well.
I have been engaged in a Facebook dialogue with people on the Anglican Church in North America group page regarding the Craft over the past couple of days.
It was an eye opener.
For some inexplicable reason, I am still an Episcopalian but strongly support the new ACNA. I think that God wants me to remain for a reason I do not know yet.
What I did not realize is that there is a strong anti-Masonic tilt in ACNA circles.
Oh, as you read this keep going back to my headline for it is important.
Many of those that commented and dialogue were clergy. Clearly, with all due respect, rather uninformed, about Freemasonry.
See, Masons are thought to be some kind of religion.
We are nothing of a religion, yet recognize that there is a Great Architect of the Universe. To me as a Christian it is God. There are three good reasons we are not a religion as it was explained by a wise longer in the Craft brother.
I call it the ABC of why we are not a religion.
B) Belief of a theology.
Let me start with A first. We do not affirm anything relating to a specific religion. Because members are from different religions, as I noted we do note that there is a deity. But we do not affirm a Christian one. Nor a Jewish one. Or an Islamic one. One thing that one must have is a belief in God, as they know and understand it. An atheist can not be made a Mason.
B is very important for a religion needs a theology and we have neither.
And C, conversion, is one of the least things a Mason does. We do not actively seek members. There is a sort of saying as follows:
translated it is To Be One, Ask One. For most of us are not secretive that we are Masons.
Ahh, there is something that people get a little freaked out about. And I will admit, we kind of sort of bring it on ourselves.
See when one is raised to the first degree, or Entered Apprentice, passed to the second or Fellowcraft, and raised to the third degree, or Master Mason, it is a ceremony that yes, is done in secret. It is part of the allegory of each degree.
As S. Brent Morris wrote in a good guide for anyone interested The Complete Idiot's Guide To Freemasonry, we are not a secret society, rather a group with secrets.
The other thing is they are the world's WORST kept secrets. One can pretty much find out everything and anything on something called the internets. Now, if you did the work and were to ask me, "Is THAT what you do?!" I would be, well something I have used many times on this blog.
A cricket chirping.
Because one of the aspects of our obligation is not reveal what our ceremonies of this nature are all about.
Again, it is all out there. But I am a cricket chirping as to whether they are or not correct.
Until people suggest that there is something called Satanic Ritual Abuse, or SAR.
I kid you not.
A couple of the people in this endless Facebook thread indicated that there are people who claim to be former Masons and victims of SAR. As I tried to explain, there is NOTHING Satanic in our ceremonies. Nothing at all. I did not get where this SAR occurred but get the idea that they think during our degree ceremonies. Who knows.
There is a lot of anti-Masonic hatred in diverse strains of Christianity.
Roman Catholics are under the illusion that Freemasonry is a religion. And in an effort to keep RC men from staying into the Craft, they formed the Knights Of Columbus. I have no problem with that. It is more why the KOC was formed, not that it was formed.
Apparently, strains of Anglicanism are pretty anti-Masonic, as evidenced in the Facebook thread. Because Anglicanism is the middle ground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, I think that it the more Catholic strain that harbors such views.
Then fundamentalist Protestants are strongly anti-Masonic.
And lets note that Radical Islamics are very anti-Masonic.
And it is all so misplaced and harmful to all.
I want to emphasize that family and church are first obligations to Masons. As an active member of my church and an active Mason, when the two conflict, church comes first. Ditto for family.
Yet it is as if once one is made a Mason, why that is it. We are part of some blood brotherhood.
The only blood brotherhood I am part of is the community of Christ and HIS blood.
What I have discovered in trying to discuss this with hostile people to Masonry, all reason flies out the window. Blinders are on extend. Defense is king. The people that have hate for Masonry and Masons are very narrow and choose not to learn about the craft.
But all I can tell my fellow Christians is this.
I wrote the headline the way I did because first and foremost, I am a Christian. My total identity is with Christ. One of my favorite hymns is an affirmation of the Trinity, I Bind Myself Unto Thee. Warning about the link is that the organ starts playing once you click on the link. The hymn, written by St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is absolute in what in means to be a Christian. That Jesus Christ is everywhere. And yes, even in a non-sectarian Masonic Lodge.