I consider it somewhat of a failing on my part that I’m giving input without reading all the other replies. As such, I don’t know if I’m duplicating the efforts made by others. I could make excuses about “not having time,” but those are just excuses. For that, I apologize.
I think the major things we receive by paying for advancement through the degrees are as follows:
We support the organization from which we draw spiritual nourishment.
–Since the AODA does not have an “offering plate” like Christian churches, our fees go toward supporting community efforts like, for instance, this forum. Like it or not, the world runs on money. Domains, hosting, maintenance, et cetera are not free. I don’t think it’s just or right to expect the Grand Grove or any individual member to subsidize the cost of maintaining these things for the benefit of the community at large.
–It’s worth noting, as well, that supporting the community and the organization can have spiritual benefits for those of us doing the supporting, if we’ll open ourselves to them. Just something to think about…
Our own studies often mean more to us when they cost us something
–This is not to say that paying for something automatically makes it meaningful, but in our culture, we have mostly internalized the idea that “you get what you pay for.”
I think it’s important to look for other ways to contribute in addition to the minimums.
- Volunteer opportunities? How many of us have a skill, talent, or ability we could use to help support? I’m a malware reverse engineer and information security engineer by trade. If (and let’s hope it never happens) some sort of security incident threatens the domain, website, or forums, I could volunteer my services (and will do so). I’m certain we have among our ranks writers and editors, craftsmen and women, and others who could contribute their time and effort to supporting the AODA.
- Any other suggestions for ways each of us might be able to contribute beyond our financial abilities? I’d like to see what others can come up with.