Freemasonry Basics

Masonic Symbols Freemasonry is a huge topic. Do a Google search (I prefer Duck Duck Go) and you will have thousands and thousands of links to all kinds of information. Some of this information is very good, and some of it is outright lies from people who have only heard rumors and make all kinds of crazy assumptions and conspiracy theories. In this post I am going to tell you what Masonry is to me.

First, a little background. I have been a Freemason for over 25 years. I have held membership in several local lodges as well as several other appendant Masonic Bodies such as the chapter, council, and commandery of the York Rite, the Scottish Rite, the Grotto, and the Order of DeMolay. I am a Past Master of my lodge (basically a past president), and currently hold officer positions in two other bodies. All this to say that I have a good bit of experience with the organization.

I am also a Christian. If this surprises you that a man could be a Mason and be a member of a religion, keep reading. Masonry as a religion is just one of the myths I am going to dispel.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss what Masonry is and what it isn’t.

What Masonry is

The simplest explanation is that Masonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. To be a member you must be an adult male, profess a belief in a Supreme Being (we don’t dictate which Supreme Being that is), apply to the organization of your own free will (we don’t recruit), and be of good character and reputation (we run background checks).

We come together under the common thread of wanting to be better than we are now. To learn wisdom from the experience of others that have gone before, made mistakes and had successes, and can teach us about how to be better men.

Masonry can also be called a system of philosophy. In fact we like to say that Masonry is A system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.” What the heck does that mean?

System of Morality: Masonry is a philosophical system that requires members to live by certain timeless virtues such as Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, Hard Work, the Dignity of Labor, etc. Each member recites these promises before the entire lodge.

Veiled in Allegory: We use the story of the building of Solomon’s Temple as an allegory for the building of the Temple of the Soul. This is broken up into sections known as Degrees. The local lodge confers three degrees the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Other appendant organizations confer other degrees which are optional but reinforce the teachings in the local lodge.

Illustrated by Symbols: We use symbols from the builder’s trades and nature to represent these virtues, such as the builder’s square to represent truth (this is where the term square deal comes from), the bee hive to represent cooperation and industry, etc.

We hold meetings in our temples or masonic centers once or twice a month. At each meeting we have an opening ceremony that reminds us of whom we are and why we are there, conduct our business such as hearing minutes of previous meetings, paying bills, and voting on charitable donations, have an educational program which could be a brief lecture or a discussion, confer a degree on any new members, close with a closing ceremony, and then meet for food and fellowship. We also have activities such as holiday parties, steak roasts, attend sporting events, and pretty much anything else we want to do as a group or with our families.

What Masonry Isn’t

For every non-member that asks me what Masonry is, there seems to be two people that think they know what it is and quite frankly get it wrong. Here are some of the beliefs I have had to debunk over the years.


Religion is the belief and worship of a particular Supreme Being or beings. It usually has some form of statement of faith, along with rules governing how worship is carried out. Masonry does not identify with any particular Supreme Being, nor do we have a statement of faith or means and modes of worship. While this is not spelled out anywhere, to me we require that faith because true morality cannot come from inside one’s self. If it did, we could not have agreed upon morals and rules of society. Some people believe that murder is wrong because it deprives another person of life, while others may believe that murder is acceptable in certain or all situations. Without an external morality, any sort of uniform morality could not exist.

Secret Society

How do you keep a secret? I was taught that the only way to keep a secret is if two people know about it, and one of them is dead. A secret society is one that denies its own existence. Their offices or meeting places are secret, and their members would have a cover and deny their membership.

This does not define Masonry. Every one of our buildings is clearly marked, usually with a symbol or a name or both. You can look up where our locations are online, and often find webpages or facebook pages for the lodge or other group. Our members often wear rings, lapel pins, and sometimes jackets or caps. We also would not pay to build public monuments like the George Washington Masonic Memorial or the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial in Gettysburg.

What I would say is that Masonry is a private society with some secrets. A private society is one where you have to be a member (or in some cases family of a member) to participate. The secrets of Masonry (oh boy, here comes the big reveal!) are just passwords and handgrips that help identify a member to another, and include other meanings related to the virtues of Masonry (okay, that was a bit of a let down).

A Good Ol’ Boys Club

Okay, so all of our members are men, and the average age of our members is somewhere in their 60’s. But we take members from all walks of life, faiths, races, socio-economic backgrounds, etc., and we have many young men in their 20’s and 30’s joining our ranks. If a member needs help we will surely help them, but never in a way that would be unethical. So it’s a good boys club, and many (but not all) of our members are old.

My Third Family

There you have it. That is what Masonry is to me. After my biological family, and my church family, Masonry is my family of brothers from all over the world. Almost anywhere in the world you go, you will find a lodge building and brothers coming together in unity. We symbolically use the working tools to better ourselves and our communities. Feel free to post any questions in the comments, I’m happy to answer them.

March 20, 2023 freemasonry


XFL The XFL has returned for a new season, after a three year hiatus. If you’re a football fan, I suggest you check this league out. It’s different than what you are used to in the NCAA or NFL, but I promise it’s worth it.


The XFL was originally formed in 2000 by Vince McMahon of the WWE. He thought that the NFL had gone soft and had too many rules, which inhibited the amount of contact and created too many penalties. He created a smaller rulebook, and added elements of professional wrestling, trying to make it more entertaining. It did’t work. The league folded after one season.

Twenty years later, new ownership brought the league back. Gone were the limited rules and flamboyant wrestling hoopla, but they did start implementing alternative rules that make the game more exciting (more on that later).

But then COVID hit, cutting the season short. The league intended to come back in 2021, but it didn’t happen. Fortunately a third ownership group of Dwayne The Rock” Johnson, Danny Garcia, and Jerry Cardinale of Redbird Capital Partners was able to buy all the rights and restart the league.

There are 8 teams in 2 divisions spread across the country in a 10 week season. While the average attendance has been around 12-15 thousand, these fans are diehard football fans who dress up and have a great time like at a college or NFL game.

The Rules

As I stated before, the XFL has different rules that are designed to enhance the excitement of the game without compromising on safety. This was one of the criticisms of the original XFL. Roughing the passer, late hits, roughing a defenseless player are all there to protect players, but there are unique rules that make it interesting.


The kicking team lines up on its own 30 yard line, while the receiving team lines up 5 yards away on the 35. The gunners on both teams cannot move until the ball is touched by the receiver or 3 seconds after it bounces on the ground. The ball must be kicked into the area between the goal line and the 20 yard line inbounds. If the ball goes out of the end zone or into the sidelines the receiving team will get the ball on their 35 yard line. If the kick fails to make it past the 20 yard line, the receiving team starts on the kicking team’s 45 yard line, which means they start more than half way down the field!

These rules promote kickoffs that get returns. In the first five weeks of the season I have seen few kickoffs that did not get a return unless a fair catch was called for.

Points After Touchdown (PAT)

This is one of my favorite rules in this league. The XFL does not have an option to kick an extra point, but there are three options for attempting a conversion. After a touchdown, the scoring teams lines up on the two, five, or ten yard line to attempt a one, two, or three point conversion. If they make it, they get the points. If they don’t, they walk away with the six from the touchdown. This can create unusual scores, but it means that teams are rarely out of the game, as it is easier for teams to launch a comeback when they are down by 10 and score 9 points on a touchdown and conversion.

Fourth Quarter Kickoff Option

Once a team has scored, they always have the options of either kicking off to the other team, or trying an onside kick. However in the fourth quarter, when a team is tied or losing, they have a third option: Fourth and Fifteen. The team that scored gets the ball right back on their own 25 yard line. They get to run one play, which must go 15 yards. If the play is successful, they keep the ball just as if they were in a fourth down and 15 to go situation. This means again that a team that is losing is less likely to be out of contention for winning the game.

During their first game of the season, the St. Louis Battlehawks were down by 12 points with about 2 minutes to play. In any other football league this would be an almost certain loss, since they would need to score a touchdown and PAT, kickoff and get the ball back, then score another touchdown and PAT. But in this case St. Louis scored a touchdown and a 3 point PAT, then completed a fourth and fifteen, marched down the field and scored another touchdown, winning the game with mere seconds to spare. It was one of the most thrilling finishes to a football game I have ever seen.


Each team gets one challenge per game, which they can use to challenge any ruling or non-ruling. They must have a time out available to make the challenge. If the challenge is upheld they keep their time out, but if it is not upheld they lose both their challenge and their timeout.

Here’s an example. In the NFL if you’re defense is charged with pass interference and you don’t think it happened, you can challenge and the call will be reviewed. But if your wide receiver was man handled but the flag not thrown, you have no recourse. In the XFL you could challenge the infraction or the lack of the infraction being called.

Hybrid NCAA and NFL

The other rules are a hybrid of other leagues. With the exception of during the 2 minute warning, the clock keeps running unless stopped by a time out. During the last 2 minutes the clock stops for plays out of bounds and first downs to move the chains. Players need to have one body part in bounds when catching a pass near the sideline rather than two.

Quality of Play

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a developmental league. These players were drafted by the NFL and never made it. Others were good players at Division II schools who were never going to get drafted by the NFL. There are dropped passes, blown coverages, quarterbacks that take too much time in the pocket, and offensive lines that don’t provide enough protection (since the first two weeks, but it has gotten better).

But you see moments of brilliance, like that 2 minute drill from the St. Louis Battlehawks, or Josh Gordon (who washed out of the NFL for his conduct) catching great passes, looking like the former Pro Bowler that he is. I don’t know if any of these players are going to show the NFL enough skills to get a tryout, but there are cases where I can see where it is possible.

The Fans

Finally, there are the fans. These are rabid, diehard football fans. They are loud, they dress up for their teams, and in the case of the DC Defenders, they have a Beer Snake (one section of the end zone collects all the beer cups to form a snake from the front row to the top of the stands).

Is it Worth Taking a Look?

Right now, there is plenty of sports to watch. Spring Baseball, March Madness, NHL and NBA. But there is no other football. These kids are playing with heart. For some, it is their last chance to play the game they love. For others, they may not have received a fair shake from the NFL, and this is a shot to prove they can play. Either way, it’s worth checking out. The play is getting better, the drama is high, and it’s fun.


XFL (2020)

March 19, 2023 Sports XFL

How I Use Obsidian: A Brief Overview

Obsidian Today PageObsidian Today Page

One of my all time favorite apps for my Mac and my iPhone is the note taking app Obsidian. In this post I am going to give you a (hopefully) brief overview of what this amazing app is and how I use it.

Obsidian: What the Heck is it?

Glad you asked! Obsidian is a connected note taking app that uses Markdown as a way to format text files. Text files are great because they are lightweight and work anywhere (even if Obsidian goes away you will have access to your notes). These notes are stored on a folder on your device, not in the app. If you place those files in an internet connected folder such as in iCloud or Dropbox, you can access and edit them on any of your devices.


Markdown is a markup language, similar to HTML but much simpler. If you are anything like me and tried using HTML and got confused don’t let that scare you. If you can style documents using a word processor (like adding bold text) you can learn Markdown in about 15 minutes.

Connected Note Taking

In addition to being able to organize notes using folders and tags, Obsidian has a number of ways that you can connect notes together and then find them.

a backlink is a link in a note that leads to another note. Say you are researching something to buy, like a car. You could create a note about what you are looking for in a car such as type, price, features, etc. Then you start looking for cars and taking notes on cars you like. You could create a note for each car that you like, and put a back link to the original note about the type of car you are looking for, like this: [My Next Car]” If you put an !” before the square brackets it will show you an image of the note instead of a link.

Plug ins

This is where Obsidian starts to get down right magical. Obsidian has a gazillion plug-ins that let you add all kinds of features to your note taking system. For example all Markdown editors let you create tasks, but there is a Tasks plug-in that lets you create tasks with due dates, start dates, or recurrences, allowing you to create much more detailed to-do and project lists. Tasks can create lists of your tasks in your notes using a simple programming structure (don’t worry, you don’t have to be a programmer to create lists of tasks). Tab Example

As you can see here, this is a list of tasks created with the tasks plug-in from three different tags.

Themes let you change the look of your notes

Another feature Obsidian has similar to a website is the ability to change the theme of the app. In the preferences you can go to the themes section, browse through the themes that are available, download and enable the one you like. I use the Minimal theme which lets you control how menus and other elements of the app look and adds color to text like colorful headings. There are themes for both light and dark modes, themes that make Obsidian look like other apps such as Things and Notation, a red and green Christmas theme, and even a Windows 98 theme (for those of you that like to punish yourself, LOL).

Fantastic Community

Obsidian has a fantastic community of developers and users that are always willing to help. In addition to lots of other blogs writing tips and tricks for Obsidian, they have a great forum and a Discord server with lots of answers and quick responses if you can’t find what you are looking for.

What I use Obsidian for

Obsidian is my primary note taking system for almost everything, but there are four main things I use it for: Bible study and other personal notes, work notes, task management, and a daily note that encompasses almost everything I need to know or remember for the day.

Bible Study

As a Christian, I put in time studying the Bible and taking notes in church during sermons. I have a folder in Obsidian that has the entire WEB version of the Bible divided into folders for each book and each chapter on its own note, with designated headings for every verse. I didn’t create this myself. Another member of the Obsidian community went through this process and made it a downloadable file for Obsidian.

With this set up, when I am taking notes and I want to add a reference to the specific scripture being discussed I can use an internal backlink to add the text to my notes. For example typing John-03#16” surrounded by double square brackets creates a link to John 3:16. If I add an exclamation point in front it will print out the verse with the proper reference. The only problem with this method is that it produces one verse at a time. There is a Bible Reference plug-in that uses a simpler syntax and can display multiple verses, but it is not currently working on mobile. This later method requires having an internet connection.

Work Notes

I take notes in meetings, cataloging what is currently going on and turning action items into tasks using the tasks plug-in. I copy notes of instructions on how to complete tasks. This is helpful for the reports I create once a week or once a month that would be easy to screw up if I didn’t check the instructions.

Using the Dataview plug-in, I have created a dynamic note that catalogs all those notes into sections based on how I tag them, giving me an evergreen list of information separated into sections that make things easier to find. I’ll get into Dataview in another post. It’s a powerful plug-in and there’s a lot to it. It deserves its own post.

Task Management

I use the Tasks plug-in to track all my tasks and projects. You can create tasks without the plug-in, but Tasks allows you to add start, scheduled, due dates, and tags to all your tasks and projects. This allows you to create persistent searches in your notes that can show you tasks grouped in various ways such as by tag, status, or date. I create tasks at the end of meeting notes (action items) and in other notes, then collect them in daily notes to keep track of them.

This method of task management is not for everyone, as dedicated task management apps have other features that Obsidian lacks and can be easier to set up. But for me it’s a great way to keep everything together in one place.

Daily Notes

A daily note is a note generated every day for calling specific information for that day and taking notes for the day, similar to a diary or journal. These notes are generated automatically using either the Daily Notes core plug-in (Core plug-ins are included with Obsidian and can be turned on or off) or the Community plug-in Periodic Notes (Community plug-ins are built by Obsidian users and have to be installed). You can see an example of my daily note at the top of this post.

The banner at the top is generated by the Banner plug-in to add flair to the note. You can use any banner image you want and change it anytime in your template.

The Task section (see the other image) is generated using a simple Dataview script. It displays tasks that are due today or previously due, and organizes them by tag.

The Journal section is a section for writing out notes from the day or new tasks that come up.

The Files section is 2 other Dataview scripts that show new files created or files that have been edited that day. I added a Projects section where I put links to other notes for projects that I am currently working on.

There you have it. A basic overview of how I am using Obsidian. If you are a notetaker or have lots of information you need to keep track of I recommend looking into Obsidian as a way to do it.

If you have any questions about Obsidian, note taking, or would like to discuss how you take and keep notes drop it in the comments below.

August 20, 2022 obsidian productivity

My Men’s Ministry Story

Rugged CrossRugged Cross

I grew up in the church. As a kid we went almost every Sunday, prayed at Sunday dinner with the grandparents, and I was confirmed in my parent’s denomination. I knew the Bible stories and basic theology. I love the Lord, and believe in His life, death, resurrection, and His atoning authority. But I knew there was more. I was missing that fellowship of believers.

In my mid to late twenties I met Bob (not his name) at a new church I was attending. He invited me to his men’s small group. I thought it would be interesting to meet with a bunch of other Christian men and discuss and do Bible study. I was right, but it was much more.

I started attending the meetings, which at first were every other Friday at a local restaurant before work. Everyone would order breakfast, then we would pray, discuss a topic, and then everyone that wanted had a chance to speak. This is where things got interesting.

These guys attended the same church, and knew each other for a long time. They trusted each other, and they shared what was on their hearts.

Their sins.

Their fears.

Their joys, and their sorrows.

It was amazingly powerful. For the first time I saw men being vulnerable and blatantly honest about what was going on in their lives. When it came around to my turn to talk at first I was scared, fearing judgement or condemnation. But I received none of that. I received compassion, understanding, and importantly, prayer.

Our group moved to a more private location when we realized that we were discussing serious and private topics that people in the restaurant could inadvertently overhear. This allowed us to go even deeper.

Over the years our group grew and eventually split into smaller groups that allowed more time to share. I looked forward to those meetings every time they were coming up, because I knew that I had a safe space to share everything that was going on, and receive prayer and wise council from men I knew I could trust.

That is one of the reasons why I write this blog. I want to help and encourage other Christian men to form small groups that help them grow in their faith, and talk about things they can’t talk about with their co-workers, neighbors, or sometimes even their wives and girlfriends. In a perfect world we should be able to discuss anything, but we live in a fallen world where people get hurt, and not everyone has the background to understand what we are going through.

It is my prayer that this blog encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and find trustworthy Christian brothers to stand with you in your effort to imitate Christ.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Pr 27:17)

August 14, 2022 xtianstudy men's ministry

How to Work from Home Everyday

My Office is cooler than yoursMy Office is cooler than yours

I work from home. Not only since the pandemic started, but since December 2010. I love it. I wouldn’t go back to working in an office unless I could find no other way to support myself. And I would turn over every rock until I found something I could do from home.

I have heard a lot of criticisms and complaints about working from home, but today I want to focus on one particular one: Working at home is weird and I don’t get anything done.” I have heard this several times from friends and it breaks my heart because working from home can be much more relaxing and eliminates many anxiety causing problems. When people say this, I have noticed a couple of common issues:

  1. They work from home periodically, like once a week or twice per month.
  2. They rarely have their own dedicated space to work.

Let me tackle these two issues and see if I can help. {more}

Working from home occasionally is weird

Bad Home OfficeBad Home Office

I’m no doctor, but I have noticed that the human brain is not good with change. Sure, people can be spontaneous and make split decisions, but in general humans thrive when they have set routines. When you get up in the morning and go to an office 20 days a month and your boss says you can have 2 of those days at home, the brain gets confused, which leads to anxiety, which leads to distraction to try to forget about the anxiety. Has this happened to you?

It’s similar to getting into a groove of ordering pizza every Friday night for months, and your significant other suddenly says hey, let’s order tacos!” That can create anxiety or even anger, because you had a rough week, and have been looking forward to that pizza, even though you love tacos.

I’m getting distracted because I haven’t had lunch. Lets get back to working. Your boss says you can work from home 2 days a month. You schedule it for Friday. That Friday rolls around and you get out of bed, think about showering, getting dressed, hopping in your car to start your commute, and suddenly remember that you are working from home. Part of you is happy, but part of your brain is thinking: Hey, I’m home, there’s a TV and a couch over there.” Or someone else you live with comes to your desk and wants to chat because they love you and you are there. Or the one I have dealt with: your Mom calls and says I know you are working, but…” and then wants to pull you away from work to do something else because you are home, and they don’t get that you have to work.

Things will try to distract you because you are not in that office that provides a work zone” for your brain. And if you do not have work that is due to be completed today, your brain says you can always get it done tomorrow when you are back at the office. You know, that place where you are supposed to work.”

What’s the solution? Cut the cord and go all in

My grandfather used to say When you eat, you eat. When you play, you play.” This was a reference to me trying to bring toys to the dinner table, or turning my fork into a sword to battle an imaginary Storm Trooper, but the principle is the same. If you want to work from home, find a way to work from home exclusively. If the company you currently work for doesn’t allow for that, you may have a life change coming.

Once you start working from home full time, everything changes. Maybe not everything. Your TV and couch are still there, and your Mother is still your Mother. But your brain reroutes it’s routines into a new system. Instead of getting up and driving to work, you go get your coffee and breakfast, then go to your home office to start working. I do recommend you still take a shower, maybe even put on some comfy work clothes (especially if you have Zoom meetings. Your hair looks terrible and they can’t smell you, but your family can). Set up your phone to block out distractions from apps and people that you would not pay attention to in the office, and tell your family that unless something is on fire, they can tell you about it after work. 1

Now, let’s tackle problem 2.

You need your own dedicated space to work

This is another issue that could potentially require a life change, but let’s talk about it. When the pandemic hit and people were told to work from home, office workers did not have work space set up. Many people plunked their laptop on their dining or kitchen table, and started working from there.

The problem that arose is similar to the first. Your brain is confused because you can’t eat the object that is sitting in front of you, causing your brain to ask what the heck are you doing there? In addition, everyone in your household can either walk by and make noise, or walk right up and start talking to you, as if you have nothing better to do.

What’s the solution? Define your space and set boundaries

Now That’s an Office!Now That’s an Office!

You have to find space that is for working. Ideally, it’s a room that you either aren’t using (like we all have those lying around), or a room you can convert to be for this purpose. This is tough to justify if you are working from home occasionally. But if you work from home full time, it’s a justifiable necessity.

When my wife and I first got together, we lived in an apartment that had one extra bedroom that could be used as an office. She was working at an office and that worked fine. But then she changed jobs to work from home full time. When we bought our house, we made sure we got a four bedroom which may sound crazy, but we each have our own office, a guest bedroom which our kids have used to live with us periodically, and a bedroom for sleeping.

If you can’t do that, consider designating an alcove, or even a closet that is large enough to fit a desk, chair, and enough air/room so you don’t feel like you are in a cage (you know, like a cubicle like at work!). Anything that you can do to tell your brain that this is the place where work gets done so that when you are there, it switches into that mode. A place that when you are there, the brains of the people in your household will know not to bother you except in the case of the aforementioned fire. It won’t do anything about your Mother, but that’s where the phone’s focus mode comes in.

  1. I know the phone solution is for iPhones. There may be a solution for Android, but I’m an iPhone user.↩︎

August 13, 2022 working

The Rules for Engagement

In the military servicemen have rules of engagement,” which determine when they may attack the enemy. In a small group, it is important to have rules for engagement, which help foster a quality and safe conversation. Part of the idea for this article comes from Common Courtesies: Small Group Rules to Follow by Amy Nappa, and part from my experience.

The purpose of these rules is to fostering trust, courtesy, and fairness. A small group does not need to be over-structured, but there does need to be structure, kindness, and fairness to keep everyone feeling safe, heard, and taking part. These rules are also good for other types of meetings, such as at work.

1. The Vegas Rule.

This rule is at the top of my list because without it in this type of small group, no one will come back if we violate it. If you remember the old tourism commercials for Las Vegas, you know it already: what happens or in group, stays in group. In a healthy small group, people share private and emotional topics. Topics they would discuss nowhere else because they are embarrassing, emotional, or private. This rule applies to we need to pray for Bob, because I heard he said [fill in the blank] in men’s group.” This is sin, and there is no place for it in the church.

2. The John Wimber Rule

John Wimber was the founder of the Vineyard Church movement. He was famous for saying everybody gets to play,” referring to everyone in the church being encouraged to exercise their spiritual gifts, not just pastors.

In my version of this rule, I specify we should encourage everyone in the group to take part and share, provided they want to. When I do sharing time, I make sure we go around the room and ask every single person if they have something to say. It could be something difficult, like confessing recent or past sins, or easy like saying how blessed they feel because of positive things happening in their lives. If they are shy or don’t think they have something to say that’s okay, but we should afford everyone an opportunity. Everyone gets to play.

3 The Shut Up and Listen Rule

I don’t have a good name for this rule because it is simple. When someone else is in their time for sharing, it is important to let them talk and not interrupt. First, it is common courtesy. Second, people can share things that are difficult, and we need to let them be patient and get them out.

When someone finishes, if you have a brief word of encouragement for them or prayer, that is when it is appropriate to say something. But we need to not interrupt or give advice.

4 The Manners Rule

I hope this one is pretty obvious but please, be kind when people share. The only thing worse than gossiping about what someone said in a group is making someone feel bad when they share. Laughing at something someone did or happened to them, making fun of them, or criticizing will ruin a group dynamic.

Remember the group should be fun, and there should be humor, even guys giving guys a hard time like we do, but it has to be appropriate.

5 The Parliament Rule

There are going to be disagreements in any group discussion. No one except the Good Lord Himself has everything all figured out, and everyone is going to have differing opinions on certain topics. This is perfectly fine, in fact it makes the group discussion more interesting. But we must disagree in a friendly manner.

As a group leader, if someone gets agitated because of an opinion, it is important for you to turn down the temperature. Remind people that other opinions are valid and stop any name calling or abuse in its tracks. In my experiences I have not seen this problem much, as the Holy Spirit has guided the conversation, but it can happen.

The Cell Phone Rule

My last rule is for electronic devices. When someone is in the middle of sharing a hard story or topic, the last thing they need is to be interrupted by a loud ringtone. I like to ask everyone at the beginning of the meeting to take their phones out and hold them, then ask them to check and make sure they are at least on vibrate or preferably on do not disturb.” This may be a little obnoxious or over the top, but it prevents people from assuming their device is in one of these modes.


Using these rules over the years has allowed us to have great discussions, times of sharing, and build wonderful Christian relationships. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

August 12, 2022 xtianstudy