Last night, Conejo Valley Lodge proudly hosted Masons and Non-Masons for a 6PM refreshment hour. Special thanks to Brother Steve Wurtzle, Secretary, for providing the food and snacks for the event.
At 7PM, we all convened in the Lodge room for Most Worshipful Russell E. Charvonia, Past Grand Master of Masons in California (14-15), presentation on Masonry’s role in civility over three centuries.
Most Worshipful Charvonia lead a well attended group over several topics pertaining to civility and how the lessons taught in Masonry are highly relevant. Together we engaged in group dialog, and even practiced some of the civility exercises, at the Civility Center website. The topics we discussed were current to the fraternity.
There were 5 seats shaped in a “U”, where each seat was assigned a to represent a stance on the topic of debate. Volunteers were asked to fill the seats of: strongly agree, somewhat agree, neutral, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree. The topic was guided by a few ground rules to make sure the conversation stayed civil.
Over the course of the conversational debate between the 5 positions were scored by everyone in the audience using the Civility Score Card. This score card presented particular perimeters on how each of the speakers were to be rated based on dialogue and conversation.
The conversations were productive and engaging, and allowed everyone to hear different perspectives while maintaining civil dialog. Under these guidelines, conversation flowed freely and each person was considerate and contemplative over each person’s position, which can be a great change of pace compared to what we can sometimes encounter in the world.
Having this civil debate at the lodge was a good reminder for all, that each one of us can make an impact in repairing civility in the world by becoming more aware of how to handle even the most difficult discussions and situations, and by repairing ourselves first. It’s not that each of us is so broken that it needs to be so badly repaired, but think about it like using an axe. Just for a moment, image the axe is now you, and the trees you have to chop down are life and it’s challenges. After you’ve gone out into the world and chopped a bunch of trees you’ve got to take time to re-sharpen your axe so it can be sharp again. Otherwise chopping with a dull axe can be frustrating, and cause other difficulties.
Like former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln once wisely stated…
If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharping my axe.
The night was concluded with a presentation from Worshipful Master Frank Shapiro on behalf of Conejo Valley Lodge to Most Worshipful Charvonia for his time and efforts to advance civility around the world.