X-Oriente
The New Voice of Brotherhood
071: Masonry Rocks!

In this episode, Jason and I sit down with Thomas Francis Lane II and Eve Bottano, of the 357s, a Masonic themed-alt-rock band from Northwest Indiana. Jason and I love the sound, which is a mixture of punk, rockabilly, goth, a little New Wave and, as Eve insists, the B-52s. The 357s challenge what a Masonic rock band could and should be: aside from Thomas, all the members of the band are female. But the sound is distinctive and haunting.

Thomas, Jason, Eve and I talked about the band's influences and how Masonry informs Thomas' musical experience. Funny story: Thomas thought we recorded the show in a proper studio, so they made the trip up from Indiana to Skokie. My home studio will barely fit 2 people, let alone 3, so we had a lot of last minute scrambling to relocate all the recording gear to the dining room! Apologies for any dogs barking. I'm glad Eve and Thomas were such good sports about it, and after several tech challenges we were able to get the recording going.

The 357s album drops on September 17th, and will be available through all the usual suspects (iTunes, Google, etc.) as well as on Spotify, Apple Music and the band's website. Both Jason and I urge you to BUY the album though as artists get paid between $0.006 and $0.008 per play, or if you are decimally challenged, it is about one-sixth of a penny. Both Jason and I are big believers in supporting Masonic artists.

The band is having a record release party on September 17th at Porter's Tap in Hammond, IN. if you are in the area, please come out and support the band, it should be a very good time. (Hanging out with Eve is worth the ticket price alone! I'm mean... sorry Thomas, but she rocks the gold spangly dress better than you ever could--but I digress) Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

You can hear the band at their website, the357s.com, on Soundcloud, and check out their new video on YouTube. 

Thomas tells me the goat references in the video are completely coincidental. <ILLUMINATI> Sure, they are, Thomas. Suuuure they are. </ILLUMINATI>

Direct download: 071B.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:52am CDT

Does your lodge have it's own unique traditions? Maybe you are like Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 in Virginia that March in Colonial garb every St. John's Day. Perhaps you are like St. John's No. 1 in New York that takes care of the Washington Bible, or Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2, which is largely credited for re-inventing the modern "Table Proceeding" ritual. Or maybe like my lodge that performs the Tyler's Toast at the end of each social gathering.

Lodge traditions help lodges find their own voice, but traditions must be managed to make sure they don't interfere with the core work and traditions. In this episode, we'll discuss lodge traditions: creating them, maintaining them, reinventing them and retiring them.

Direct download: 070.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:16pm CDT

069: Perspectives on Hindu Mysticism

In this show, the first of our summer season, we are joined by special guest Dr. Ramesh Rhagavan to give us an introduction to mysticism from the Hindu perspective. 

Ramesh is Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the School of Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. He is also a member of the core faculty of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. He is both an MD and a PhD, so I guess you could call him a high degree Mason (i crack myself up sometimes). He was initiated, passed and raised in Ionic Lodge No 520 (now Ionic Composite Lodge No 520) in 1999 in Los Angeles, CA. He is a current member of Tuscan Lodge No 360 in St Louis, MO, where he was most recently Senior Warden.

I really enjoyed our conversation with Ramesh, and learned a lot about the Hindu perspectives. It gave me new insights to my own practice and I hope you enjoy the conversation.

 

We recorded this almost a month ago, so the Masonic news is a little bit stale. For those who are wondering why the show was delayed, we had a technical bug that was inserting noise into the audio. We worked with the software developer and fixed the bug (we think it was due to a change Apple made to OS X). Should be all fixed now and blue skies going forward.

 

Direct download: 069B.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm CDT

068: The Importance of Landmarks

The recent actions of some grand lodges to withdraw recognitionof others is based in the idea that there are certain principles,or Landmarks that are the foundational principles that defineregularity. While we like to think of them as fixed andimmovable, the truth is that they are highly variable and open tointerpretation. In this episode, Eric and Jason discuss Landmarksand why they are important. They also discuss some differentcollections of landmarks and compare and contrast them.

For additional reading, see Paul Bessel's excellent website.

Direct download: 068.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm CDT

Apologies for the delay...we had a few technical glitches but we've got them figured out... I think. In this episode Jason and Eric are joined by W. Bro. Jon Ruark, one of the host of The Masonic Roundtable. Jon is taking on an ambitious and much needed project--he is doing a Masonic survey to try and learn what is the real cause of our decline. We then talk a little bit about retention and how me might think about not just attracting the right kind of men, but keeping the good ones we have.

Please go right now and take the Masonic survey at http://tinyurl.com/masonicsurvey. and enjoy the show!

Direct download: 067.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:34pm CDT

Sure, Freemasonry is not a business, but lodges do business. Managing our finances, raising funds, dues...in this episode Jason and Eric have a discussion of various aspects of the finances of a lodge, and some of the problems that lodges face when they neglect the financial side of things.

Direct download: 066B.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:17pm CDT

The third in our series of shows about the tenets of Freemasonry. What is Truth? Is Truth subjective? How can we know if something is true? And as Masons, how should we be thinking about Truth in our pursuit of it? This time Jason and Eric are joined by Professor Sandy Goldberg, Chair of Philosophy at Northwestern University to explore these questions. Understand what truth is and where and how to find it has never been more important. 

We also will bring you up to speed on the recognition situation. IMPORTANT NOTE: we do our best to get the latest information, but if you are in one of the jurisdictions affected [Currently, CA, DC, TN, GA, ME, RGLB (Belgium), GLNF (France)] please contact your Grand Lodge or Lodge Secretary regarding issues of visitation, plural membership, etc. Do not rely on podcasts or blogs for official information.

As always, the views expressed on this show are those of the participants and are not those of any Lodge, Grand Lodge, Appendant Body or any other Masonic body or organization.

Direct download: 065B.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:07pm CDT

The second part in our exploration of the tenets of Masonry. What is relief? Is it the same as charity? What forms of relief are there and what is our duty as Masons to perform Relief? In this episode, Jason and Eric explore the meaning of Masonic Relief.

Direct download: 064.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:33am CDT

Big News! I'm pleased to announce the addition of a co-host! Jason Van Dyke will be in the co-pilot's seat, starting with this episode!

Religion and politics are the two subjects that are forbidden to be discussed in Lodge, as we say they are the two topics that serve to divide men. Recent events in Tennessee have elevated both religion AND politics into the Masonic sphere, causing all kinds of problems. Outside of the Craft, we are in the midst of a political process that is breaking down because of a lack of mutual respect and civility. 

Can Masonry help us as a society walk this back? Are we destined to be torn apart by the same forces that are straining democracy all over the world? We open the discussion: How can Masonry help? Visit www.xoriente.com for more detailed show notes.

Direct download: 063b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:42pm CDT

The first tenet of Freemasonry is brotherly love. What is brotherly love, how is it distinctive from other kinds of love, and how do we understand it both from historical precedent, and today? If indeed brotherly love is a tenet, how should inform our conduct today? It is said that the tenets of Freemasonry are brotherly love, relief, and truth. And were going to spend the next few shows exploring just exactly what that means. Visit xoriente.com for more detailed show notes and links to more content.

Direct download: 062B.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:50pm CDT