Thursday, January 18, 2018

Check Out The Masonic Curators Podcast

RW Robert Johnson, creator of the Masonic Curators podcast and Midnight Freemasons Managing Editor
I'm really enjoying a new series of videos called "Masonic Curators."  It's a series of videos where Masonic collectors share their knowledge of various artifacts from their personal collections--and a few, like the one I posted below, feature a location.  You can find all the episodes on the Masonic Curators website or you can just go to YouTube and do a search for "Masonic Curators." 

It's a project that was started by Midnight Freemasons Managing Editor Robert Johnson.  I don't watch a lot of podcasts, but these are very short, and always interesting, so I thought I'd share the information with you.  Here's one by Midnight Freemason Senior Contributor Greg Knott, and it's about our Lodge Homer Lodge No. 199 A.F. & A.M. in Homer, IL (more specifically, our Masonic museum).

Hope you enjoy it!

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Which Bible Translation? KJV? NIV? NLT? NASB?

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

~Matthew 7:24 (NIV)

I often run across debates, many of which become heated, over which translation of the Holy Bible is the best and most accurate.  There are many translations of the Holy Bible, the most commonly used is the King James Version (KJV).  My church uses the New International Version (NIV), and that's the one I prefer to read.

But considering the state of our world today, shouldn't the focus be to encourage people to pick up the Holy Bible and spend time reading it, instead of focusing on which translation they prefer?

Just read it!

~Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Importance Of A Good Reputation

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, 
and only one bad one to lose it.”

~Benjamin Franklin

One thing that was pounded into young men in my generation was the importance of building a good reputation.  It’s hard work, because your reputation is the public reflection of your character.  It is what other people see and come to believe about your character.  It’s based on what you do.  It’s based on what you say.  It’s based on how you act.  It’s based on how you treat other people, and how you make other people feel.  There are few things more important than reputation when it comes to our success, or our failure as a person. It can take years to build a reputation—it can take mere seconds to destroy it.  It is something we should be very deliberate about building, and very careful about protecting because it is the essence of who we are.  And it’s very difficult to rebuild a reputation after you’ve allowed it to become tarnished.

I don’t deserve the reputation I have. 

I hear that a lot.  It’s very rarely ever true.  You see, you can have a few people in your life that have an unfavorable opinion of you.  Everyone does.  But your reputation is what most people that know you think of you.  If you have a reputation of being opinionated and outspoken, chances are you’re opinionated and outspoken.  If you have a reputation for being undependable, you’re probably undependable.  Sometimes people don’t think that’s fair—but reputation is based on a very sound principle.  It’s based on your past behavior, and any employer or supervisor will tell you that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. 

I’m going to to say what I want to say, and do what I want to do, and I don’t really care what other people think. 

I hear that a lot, too.  Sounds very tough and defiant, but actually it’s a childish attitude to have.  That selfish and narcissistic attitude demonstrates a complete lack of care or concern for other people—most specifically those that love you and care about you.  Your reputation reflects on you, sure, but you don’t think it also reflects on your spouse?  On your kids?  Your family?  Your community?  Your church?  Your fraternity?  Your employer?  You’ve never heard anybody say, “she’s a real nice lady, but her husband is a real jerk.”  You’ve never heard somebody say, “I don’t know why he hangs around with that guy—he’d steal the shirt right off your back.”  Of course you have.  Your actions affect everyone around you whether that’s your intention or not. 

Building a solid reputation is hard, because it requires an amazing amount of self discipline.  It requires us to learn from our mistakes and not continue to repeat them—those are the lessons that mature into wisdom eventually.  It requires us to learn when it is important for us to speak, and when it’s better to remain silent.  It requires us to to listen to others, and respect their point of view.  It requires us to admit when we are wrong, and to apologize when it’s appropriate.  It requires us to be truthful and honest in all of our dealings.  It requires us to do the things we say we’re going to do regardless of how difficult the task may be. 

Men of good reputation and solid character used to be more common than they are today.  We don’t teach the value of it anymore.  Our society is so focused inward on ourselves, and our own selfish needs.  We are a society of grown children, fighting and arguing on social media just like children used to fight and argue on the playground.  We’ve never grown up and become men, because we haven’t had the role models.  And just like children, we don’t think about what we’re saying, and we don’t think about what our words and actions are saying about us. 

We’d all be better off if we worked a lot harder at building ourselves as decent human beings rather than focusing so intently on satisfying our selfish needs.  And those of us who are able should focus on not only modeling those honorable character traits, but teaching others to be men of good character.  Men of good report.  Men of unquestioned reputation.

~Todd E. Creason

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Unchanging Light of Freemasonry

Bannack State Park, Montana-- Historic Masonic Lodge
I added an old book on Freemasonry to my collection over the weekend, and I was thumbing through it.  It was from the turn of the last century, and it was collection of essays on Freemasonry written by some of the fraternity's leading Masonic researchers and scholars of that time.  I use these old books a lot when I research ideas for an article or a blog post.  My wife asked me one time why I'd use such old books in my research.  "Aren't those books a little outdated?"

No, they are not.  Very little changes in Freemasonry.

There's something comforting in knowing you are part of a fraternity whose values and morals remain the same in an ever changing world--that the same values that George Washington held in high regard are still valued today by that same group of men.  Some might argue that the fraternity is outdated.  I disagree.  There are some time-honored tenets that do not change over time.  How we should represent ourselves to the world does not change.  How we should treat others.  Honesty and integrity are rare today, but still valued amongst Masons.  The hallmarks of good character have not changed over time.  How to harness and put our talents and skills to their best use hasn't changed over time.  That desire to improve ourselves--to learn from our mistakes and constantly strive to become better men has remained important to men for centuries.

Those things will never become outdated, and the further society drifts from these core fundamental principles, the more men will seek them out within the walls of a Masonic Lodge.

~Todd E. Creason

originally published 11/4/14
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