Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome to "Freemasonry: Reality, Myth, and Legend": An Introduction

Welcome to “Freemasonry: Reality, Myth, and Legend.” In this post, I explain the topics I plan to address, how this blog is diffferent from other blogs about Freemasonry, how I am qualified to write about this, and some details of my personal background. Note: As of March 30, I adopted a policy of posting entries of a maximum 800 words (not including references and so forth); posts earlier than that date are rather longer, but from that point on, posts are just a bit longer than an Op-Ed piece in a typical newspaper.

Topics Addressed in This Blog

I shall address general topics related to Freemasonry including: Events and news in the Masonic world. Masonic philosophy. Masonic education and ethics. Images of Freemasonry in popular entertainment and the media. Myths about Masonry (that is, rumors and untruths, including anti-Masonry). Myth within Masonry (that is, the legends of the Craft). Issues of debate regarding Masonic philosophy and practice. My experience being a Mason. Items appearing in the Masonic blogosphere and cyberspace. Masonic symbolism and ritual (within the boundaries of my obligations). I plan to send posts to this blog once or twice a week (excluding vacations and conference trips.)

How This Blog Is Different

There are a lot of blogs about Freemasonry. More power to them! What is distinguishing about this one is that I introduce material from my background in psychology, ancient religion, religious studies, and various esoteric traditions. I also am frank about giving advice about things that Masons can do to make the Fraternity stronger, more true to its ideals, and more effective in its task of improving the inner man and the greater society.

How I Am Qualified to Write About Freemasonry

First and foremost, of course, I am a Freemason myself (details below). Beyond that, I have a background in the study of various spiritual, religious, and esoteric traditions. My writings have appeared in various Masonic publications: The Scottish Rite Journal; Heredom: The Proceedings of the Scottish Rite Research Society; the Philalethes.

My Personal Background

I understand that readers may be curious about what sorts of perspectives inform my opinions. Here are some items about my background:
  • Name: Mark Edward Koltko-Rivera.

  • Demographic characteristics: 52 years old; married, with four grown children from a former marriage.

  • Home town: The Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City.

  • Where I’ve lived: New York City (Manhattan, including the Lower East Side / Greenwich Village, and the Upper East Side; Astoria, Queens; the Bronx). Florida (Winter Park, just north of Orlando). New Jersey (Newark). Pennsylvania (Haverford and Bryn Mawr). Connecticut (New Milford and West Hartford). Japan (Hiroshima, Okayama, Matsue, Matsuyama, Tokushima).

  • Ethnicity: Polish and Puerto Rican.

  • Education: Graduated from St. Stanislaus, B.M. School (now defunct), New York City, 1970. Graduated from Regis High School, New York City, 1974. Graduated from Haverford College with a BA degree, majoring in psychology, 1981 (affiliated with Class of 1978). Graduated from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education with an MS in Ed degree, majoring in counseling, 1984. Graduated from New York University with a PhD degree, in counseling psychology, 2000.

  • Politics: Rational.

  • Other Blogs: I write "On the Mark: Social Commentary From a Reflective Perspective," where I address social issues in general, my life and its lessons, and spirituality. I also write "For Latter-Day Saints: Topics in Mormonism," where I address issues of interest to Latter-day Saints. I shall address issues involving the interface between society in general and Freemasonry in "On the Mark"; I reserve issues of primary interest to Freemasons for this blog, "Freemasonry: Reality, Myth, and Legend." Anyone is welcome to read or comment on any of these blogs (subject to the rules, below).

Although directed at members of the Masonic Fraternity, anyone is welcome to read and comment upon these posts.

The rules for those who leave comments: No personal attacks. No profanity. You are welcome to disagree with me, and quite vigorously at that, but infringements of the rules means I shall delete you and bar you from future commenting.

Beyond that: Welcome.

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