A Time for Reflection
Summer has passed us by at a rate that seems like it is approaching 299,792,458 meters/second. If it went much faster, perhaps I could go back in time and re-live it; something that I’m sure the Einstein fans in the audience would agree would be quite something. All that said, I find myself sipping on my coffee and reflecting on events of the summer, what I have been able to achieve, and what I could improve on.
It is important that each of us celebrate our accomplishments while considering how we can continually and incrementally improve. … Afterall, each of us is a work in progress. I have wonderful memories of family, friends, camping, visiting new places, music, motorcycles, writing, learning, and growing. I also realize that I could improve reaching out, meeting new people, and soliciting their ideas. It is something in the forefront of my mind and something I continue to work on.
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Nelson Lodge, Metro East, and Metro West. At Nelson, we had a deep discussion reflecting on one of the great disrupters of our time: Artificial Intelligence. Inspired by concepts in the book, “Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World” by Mo Gawdat, we discussed and reflected on what we need to think about as Freemasons as AI unstoppably enters our world and impacts our lives. It triggered many deep and philosophical questions about ethics, the nature of man’s desire to create, and what we as Freemasons will teach AI.
At Metro West and East, we discussed finding lodge meaning and balance between direction and autonomy. It was a wonderful (sometimes vulnerable) interactive discussion about the benefits and challenges of both direction and autonomy. Together, we continued to reflect on what we should be considering as lodges and individuals with those specific viewpoints in mind.
For all my talks, I want to thank everyone involved. Your hospitality is greatly appreciated. Your engagement and participation in the discussion makes my job easier. I also get the added benefit of learning from you – something I appreciate very much. I hope that you will consider having me back for follow-up visits. As I have shared in past articles, I love to travel and meet others. Please do not hesitate to reach out and request a talk with me. The best way to contact me is via firstname.lastname@example.org, by social media, or by phone.
Additionally, I would like to make you aware of a couple of other opportunities coming up that I hope you will be excited about. I will be hosting our first education Zoom town hall on Sunday, Sept 24 at 8:00pm CST. My intention is to have these types of interactive meetups quarterly. Anyone is welcome and it is not limited to Lodge Education Officers. I would like to hear your thoughts about Masonic Education. Specifically, I would like your feedback on what is working, what could be improved, and any topics you would like to learn more about. Zoom connection information is being distributed via social media and email. I will also make sure it is on our Grand Lodge calendar in Grandview.
The Midwest Conference for Masonic Education (MCME) is also coming to Minnesota in May of 2024. MCME is a traveling education conference, and it is a great opportunity to learn new things, network, and meet Brothers from other jurisdictions. I attended Ohio this year and made many wonderful new friendships. Again, this is not limited to Lodge Education Officers and there are a variety of topics that should appeal to every Freemason. The conference will be held May 3-5 in Bloomington, and the theme this year deals with educating educators. The keynote speaker is Dave Baranek, a TOPGUN instructor. To learn more about MCME, please visit https://mcme1949.org.
Finally, I wanted to let you know that I have heard your thoughts and concerns about finding relevant information and education materials. To help with the information overload, I am working on a Grand LEO virtual desk page to help organize links and content that I have referenced, articles, publications, sites, and education materials that will be of interest to you and your lodges. I know education is a big commitment, and if there are barriers of entry getting to the right information, I want to address that. There will be more information about that soon. As always, if there is anything else I can do to help, please do not hesitate to call me.
I look forward to our paths crossing again soon, Brothers. In the meantime, I hope that life is treating you well. I hope that you continue to look at those that are around you and realize the impact you have made on them. I hope you will cherish the impact that they have made on you.
Brad Phelps, Grand LEO