The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2017

North Carolina Mason

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Page 2 The North Carolina Mason May/June 2017 By Beth Grace Mason Editor A weathered tractor shed on a country road in Troy is not the sort of place you'd expect a revolution to break out. But the hand-built home of 357 Productions, where e Masonian podcasts are shot, is the birthplace of an educational movement designed to bring Masonry home in a whole new way to brothers across North Carolina. 357 was born a little more than two years ago, the brainchild of three Masons who love the Craft and wanted to do more – to be more – and to bring their brothers along for the ride. "We have been good friends for a long time, riding motorcycles together and that kind of thing," says Ben Wallace, who takes the lead in hour-long Masonian interviews, along with Riley Beaman in front of the camera. Working behind the camera is the third member of the group, Shawn Brown. All three are members of Blackmer #127; Brown is Master this year. "We decided to make a few videos together, just goofing around really," Wallace remembers. "We started out doing interviews of the more seasoned members of our lodge, the real pillars of Masonry, before they passed on. But the more we did of those, the more we realized they required editing, and we're not good on heavy editing. So we moved off that and began the podcasts." For those who are invited to be on the podcasts, the experience is more than just a chance to talk about issues of interest to the Craft. Wallace cooks dinner for his guests, and family and friends drop by to have a bite and say hello before shooting begins. e atmosphere is stress-free and the conversation – both over dinner and later, when the microphones are on – is good. "We like to keep things conversa- tional and light, rather than some- thing like NPR," Wallace says. And even if there's no guest scheduled for the month, no problem. "We can just talk," he says. "And we can talk!" Before and after interviews, Wallace and Beaman often talk on air about current issues facing Masons around the state and news from the Grand Lodge. ey do their homework – getting the latest news from the Grand Lodge in hand so they can answer any ques- tions viewers might have. e podcast is not an official production of the Grand Lodge, although Grand Masters and Grand Lodge staff have appeared on it. 357 maintains a strong working relation- ship with the Grand Lodge and listens to critiques and suggestions from the Grand Line. But they have a voice all their own. "We do want to be a little edgy sometimes and push boundaries, but we don't want to suggest we speak for the Grand Line at all," Wallace says. From the minute the podcast opens, there's no question you're about to hear something a little different. Every show begins with a clip from Metal- lica's To Live is to Die, and closes with Dead and Bloated by Stone Temple Pilots. Beaman signs off with an old favorite: "We'll meet on the level and part on the square." Wallace, Beaman and Brown are all about sharing resources and educational opportunities through 357. In addition to a couple dozen Masonian podcasts produced so far, they have compiled an educa- tion video series called Darkness to Light. ose videos feature lectures and interviews with fellow North Carolina Masons and Masons from other Grand Jurisdictions. e podcasts may not be to every- one's taste, but they have developed a following in the Craft. "e brothers at 357 are having conversations in the Tractor Shed that are always free-ranging, mostly informative and occasionally illuminating. e best part is, they're posting them so the rest of us can listen in," said Deputy Grand Master Speed Hallman. "Free thought, free inquiry and free speech are the hallmarks, and that's a wonderful thing and totally consistent with our Masonry," he Where can you find the podcasts? The Masonian has a YouTube channel (search for "Masonian" or "357 Productions"), and a Facebook page www.facebook. com/357productionsnc/. You can also access some 357 videos via the Education Resources link on the Grand Lodge web page: http:// grandlodge-nc.org/education- resources. 357 puts a new shine on the square & compass see 357, page 3 The 357 crew at work creating a podcast: At left, Riley Beamon far left and Ben Wallace, right, interview Junior Grand Warden P. Shaun Bradshaw. Above, Ben Wallace, left, consults his notes while Shawn Brown gets the camera ready.

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