Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Wrestling for the Mantle: A disturbing perspective in the transfer of Masonic Legacy by WB John L. Hairston, founder


With the incoming year, we end one cycle and advance into another with fresh hopes and inspirations forging the way to a new degree in arriving at our destiny. In between these cycles are periods of transition, as the shifts and transfer of what was once necessary for the furtherance of our journey is replaced with the vital provisions for our next season. The continuous success experienced or pursued from one season to the next is inextricably connected to how well we deal with the shifts, transitions and transfers.

Organizations, as all things in life, go through cycles and seasons; its continued and recurring success relies primarily on the effective planning and preparation in handling its shifts, transitions and transfers. One of the main obstructions to the success of an organization is the LACK or the POOR exercise of VISION.

In the Volume of Sacred Law and Great Light of Masonry, the Holy Bible, Prophet Hosea (4:6) warns that his people perished for a lack of KNOWLEDGE. The Hebrew word used in that text was Dha’ath, and the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament cited the word as such:
This root, occurring a total of 944 times, is used in every stem and expresses a multitude of shades of knowledge gained by the senses. Its closest synonyms are bı̂n “to discern” and nākarto recognize.”

Discernment and recognition is VISION and Prophet Hosea is imparting to the reader that a PEOPLE or an ORGANIZATION perish for a LACK of VISION.

An egregious, and sometimes fatal, mistake of leadership or an organization is to believe that a PLAN is the same as VISION. A plan is, often, a written down set of goals and objectives that an organization or person hopes to achieve. How many Businesses or Organizations have been birthed and operated with extensive plans, but still meet their demise and dissolution?

Vision is the discernment and recognition of when the plans need alteration and adjustment; vision allows one to make the necessary shifts, transitions and transfers to meet the demand of progress and attainment. As human beings we cannot successfully impact the future except through planning and vision. We can plan for the future, but can only deal with the immediate present. Today was yesterday’s future. And although we may not be able to advance into the future and create it as we plan, there are ways to ensure that our planning becomes the success of tomorrow; it comes through VISION.

Let it be known that the future isn’t some undetermined force that controls the destiny of anything; the future is a series of points in time, beyond today, that are ushered in by signs and heralds. And, because the future is ushered in by SIGNS and heralds, one must have vision to SEE the signs and heralds, INTERPRET them, and PREPARE the people or organization for what is revealed and interpreted in those signs and heralds.

One of the first tools presented to a brother upon entering his Masonic life is one that teaches him Time management, and it is stated in the investing ceremony that he is to divide his time by use of it. Yet, when reading the use by operative masons, it was used to MEASURE AND LAYOUT their work. It can be understood as wisdom that its first instruction may be time management, but as he progresses in degrees he learns that it is also alluding to his ability to apply TIME MEASUREMENT.

In a Volume of Sacred Law, the Holy Bible, Apostle Paul revealed to the Church of Ephesus (Ephesians 1:10) there existed more than one field of TIME; in fact the term was pluralized, “times”. I know you’re wondering, ‘what does all of this have to do with shifts, transitions and transfers, and how they apply to Vision?’
That Holy Text gives two definitions for time. One is Chronos, and it deals with the calculation and measurement of time by movement of the moon around the earth, and the earth’s orbital and rotational movements; CIRCUMAMBULATIONS. This time is measured in Years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. The second is Kairos, and although it may appear in the course of a human calendar, it isn’t measured by years, months, days, minutes and seconds; it is recognized by discernment and vision, and measured by foreordained events and completion of assignments. It is also called “God’s Time” or Seasons.

Everything created under the supervision of the All-Seeing Eye of the Great Architect of the Universe is created with a purpose. Our lives or the life of anything is a set of seasons and assignments in which we work out our purpose. Organizations may be assignments attached to one’s purpose. I truly see Freemasonry as an assignment attached to our predecessor’s purpose that manifested in the season set for it. It took Vision and discernment for those founders to see the seasons changing and recognize the need to birth this speculative science.

An organization’s purpose is set from its creation, and the legacy of that purpose is passed down like a baton to succeeding generations in hopes that it will remain until the last human is transitioned into eternity. The work that has already been done is called Legacy and it is the wealth of an organization. Organizations, as I have stated before, have seasons and in the midst of its members working their assignments, there must be a reliable and steady application of vision and discernment to understand when the seasons are changing, when a milestone is reached, an assignment completed, when transition must be adhered to, shifts and transfers of leadership roles and power must be applied. If the present leadership decides that they will ignore the changing of seasons, disregard the need for shifts, and rebel against the transfer of leadership roles and power, that organization faces inevitable decline or death.

Our elders must understand their roles as custodians and gatekeepers. They must realize that the legacy and purpose of the organization cannot die with them, that they must exercise a PROPER transfer of leadership to emerging leaders. Why? The life of an organization is based on the vision to understand that certain seasons call for certain people, certain skill sets, certain expertise, certain zeal and strength. Our elders must understand that a changing of the season isn’t a time of death for them or a discontinuance of their contribution to the organization, but as a time of rest where they can sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Their assignment is completed and they must turn the trestle board over to those whose expertise is attached to this season.

The problem is that you have leaders and elders who are not in tune or negligent of discerning the season, for whatever reason, and rather than blessing the emerging personnel, they take them as rivals and engage in a wrestling for the mantle. This disrupts the flow and ebb of the organization’s purpose and renders the organization disconnected from its assigned movement and progression. The organization finds itself suffering from generation gaps and stagnations, falling years behind its purposed destination.  Rather than looking ahead at the future, they are looking back on those coming forward, and rather than seeing fresh legs bearing gifts of rest and honor, they see those emerging leaders as their “replacements” or “removals”.


One thing is for certain, DESTINY is a force that rolls over those who attempt to tamper with it; you may be able to delay it for a moment, but inevitably it will burst through the portals of time and establish itself with impact that will crumble all who oppose her. This year is the year when full manifestation of purpose will be established and the direction of our great and honorable society will be reaffirmed. Look around and see with vision the changing of the seasons, recognize that shift has been made; the transition for proper transfer has been established and the noble and glorious purpose of this Grand institution awaits to be revealed.