Submitted by Seth Anthony
Triune Lodge #307 Middletown, PA
I have a question for you.
Would you rather have the very best of a lesser product or the bare minimum of the best product?
Let me share some examples.
Would you like to have a loaded Kia sedan, with all the bells and whistles, or a base model BMW?
Would you prefer to get a Doctorate from a state school or a Bachelor’s from Yale?
Would you live in the nicest house in a poorer part of town, or the cheapest house in the rich part of town?
Each of these questions cuts to the topic at hand in a different way. It also harkens back to my previous article on being cheap versus being frugal; is it better for us to what the best of a lesser thing or the minimum of a better thing?
Let’s take this idea and put it into fraternal examples.
You’re having a Lodge banquet to celebrate a great year. Do you buy the most expensive, best looking and durable disposable plates and utensils or do you buy the least expensive, reusable plates for the event? Surprisingly, it may be cheaper for you to buy brand new, ceramic dishware than using the nice paper plates. Plus, you can use them again.
Your Lodge building is in need of some new windows, as the current one’s have become drafty and winter is coming. A brother who has some experience with home repair, offers to do the job in his spare time, purchasing materials as goes from local big box stores. He’d only charge the Lodge actual costs. Alternately, your Lodge has enough money to hire a contractor to do the work quickly, with a warranty, before the snowy season hits. What’s the choice your Lodge would make?
You have three new candidates for the degrees of Odd Fellowship, but your Lodge is very small and struggles to put on the degrees. You have three options: 1. Obligate the new members right away so they can come to meetings. Your members will have to read from the ritual manual to do so, however.
2. Show a video of the degree on a laptop in your Lodge room, performing the secret work in person.
3. Make the candidate wait until the degree rally in four months, where they will see the degrees live and well performed.
I challenge you to ask yourself what you think the optimal answers to these questions might be. Then, ask yourself what a new member would prefer. Are the answers the same?
There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions. Rather, they are designed to make you think about the experience your new members are receiving and how they perceiving your Lodge and our organization.
Is Odd Fellowship the very best of the smaller, dying fraternal organizations?
Or is it the bare bones model of what could be a much higher quality organization if more resources were available?
That’s for you and your members to decide.
One thought on “I Have a Question for You. – by Seth Anthony”
I…love…this article. It’s points out some of the ethical issues we have regarding how we see ourselves and how others see us as well. I especially like the part about initiations and waiting 4 months, or showing a video, or obligating. Waiting 4 months could be good IF the initiation will be a “Cecil B. DeMille” production. If instead it’s unrehearsed, sloppily dressed, and no one knows where to stand–why make someone wait 4 months for that?! To me, Initiations are one of the easiest degrees to do and to do very well! Thanks, and great article, brother!