I have been installed as the Ritualist, Education Officer in Eagle Rock Lodge 19 for 2011. My symbol is, fittingly enough, the lantern or light, with one meaning being keep the light shining bright through educating Freemason's in my lodge and around the world (I am not being a megalomaniac saying that, it is the age of the Internet after all).
I have had a remarkably blessed life in so many ways. One such way has been the desire and even the ability to gather an astonishing library of Biblical research and scholarship in all facets and all from all types of religious commentators, be
Allow me to explain my modus operandi briefly. I am not going to worry about providing a "correct" interpretation of a Biblical passage while showing all others are "wrong." I have no interest in trying to prove one particular religious viewpoint as opposed to refuting another particular one. My intent on exploring, learning, tweaking, and understanding the Bible is simply to bring out the excitement of discovery, the puzzlement of how to interpret, and the thrill of learning and realizing the astonishing breadth and depth of the Bible. I make no apologies for bringing out archaeological, historical, linguistic, philological, botanical, scientific, and historical facets of the Bible. I am playing with it because it is the most enjoyable and fun book to delve into in print. It never has ceased to amaze me at the ability it has to withstand simple pigeon-holing audacity of both critics and friends alike. It is simply not a simple book to read or understand, and yet it is a simple book to read and understand. An amazing contradiction.
I will not agree with every scholar I use. I will not deliberately insult any one particular tradition be it Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Protestant, etc. I will bring out ideas from any and all traditions, (those that I am familiar with more or less anyway) exactly as I will use any and all disciplines in order to pique your interest, cause you to say "hmmmmmmmm! I never thought of it in quite that way before, how interesting!" I want to help you see the value, interest, and genuine learning possibility in reading the Bible more closely, with greater intent, more interest, and delightful desire, simply because it is a great book to read and learn about and attempt to understand.
We Freemasons use the Bible in our lodges as one of the absolutely great and important symbols of our Craft. But are we just using it as a symbol without actually reading and learning about what it teaches? Not really. We use portions of it constantly in our rituals, whether in the BLue Lodges, Scottish Rite or York Rite. But this is only a very limited and partial usage as we all well know.
I hope that my adumbrations (look it up, no really, it's a very accurate word for what I am doing) and ululations about the Bible will cause us all to open this book, read it, ponder it, learn from it, question and seek greater depth for its value and meaning in our personal lives as well as for our whole society in general. I am in hopes that getting us to put our noses into this great book will elevate us as citizens of our nations, better men in or families and with our friends, and most of all, better Masons in performing our services for the greater benefit of mankind. If we don't really think about what it says and means, how then can we actually use it to better ourselves and others?
I make no apology for bringing out the best in Biblical scholarship either. Analyzing the Bible from the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic is invaluable for extra insights, and stunning developments of themes and ideas you just cannot get from reading an English translation. I shall go into these areas as well.
I will not agree with all my former and contemporary Masonic brothers on what they have written about the Bible. I do not expect everyone to agree with me on what I present either. I am not presenting the "true" meaning necessarily, nor the final analysis. The Bible itself has defied being "finally defined" for centuries, I am not vain enough to think I can do so now. But what I can and will do is make you think. I shall challenge you and your assumptions about what the Bible is saying and means. I shall thrill you with discoveries as I have been thrilled, and challenge you with hard arguments to solve, as I have been challenged. I shall not always come up with answers to questions I pose either, but shall give you various ideas and possibilities, and let you go at it on your own.
Above all, I am enjoying my time in this Volume of Sacred Law. I am playing, musing, pondering, exploring, and learning, and turning around and sharing this all with you in order to get you to say, hey! I think that is interesting enough to look into myself. I am not trying to convert you to any one view, but to excite you into learning about those views and using them to enlarge your own capacities of comprehending this magnificent book.
I shall use extra biblical materials as well to elucidate and elaborate on points brought up in the Bible. Sacred history is not the only thing to learn, but secular history as well has much to teach us for context and content.
Above all, I simply wish to share the interest, intensity, potency, and brilliance that a careful reading in the Bible record can give far greater rewards than is supposed. I desire to show you why I have such a love for the Volume of Sacred Law because it is the great spiritual challenge as well as intellectual challenge we have in written form. It does intensely make us better as we learn its secrets, mysteries, and histories. It is worth every moment of time and effort we put into it. I shall be posting all my research here on this blog for all to read and learn from. I look forward to a stimulating and interesting year as Ritual, Education Officer.