About Me – Brother Lawrence Damien (Rev John Brown)

Brother Lawrence DamienBrother John C.S.E.F. (Community of Saints Elizabeth of Hungary and Francis de Sales) was born in Maine in 1948, started teaching/preaching in 1966, and was ordained to the ministry in 1970.

I was raised in the Congregational faith and later became Church of Christ, then Pentecostal, then Episcopal/Old Catholic.

I was educated at Melodyland School of the Bible 1968-1970, San Jose Bible college one semester in 1972, and then Bethesda Bible College in San Jacinto, CA from 1999-2002.

I have served as Bible Teacher, Deacon, Elder and Pastor.

Read more

The Annunciation of the Lord

The Annunciation of the Lord
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear family,

Saturday March 25 will be The Annunciation of the Lord also known as The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is also known as the Annunciation or Our Lady or Lady Day in England. It is Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus. He would be the Son of God thus this feast marks his incarnation as a human. Mary is told to name him Jesus meaning Jehovah of God has saved.

1: Scriptural Foundation

26 “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

Read more

Reflections on Radical Jesus the Taboo Breaker

Reflections on Radical Jesus the Taboo Breaker
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear Family,

Today’s gospel reading was on the women at the well of Jacob in Samaria. If we read this from a 21st century we might think what is so shocking about this passage. After all men talk to women everyday even women they don’t know, they do it publicly and they sometimes even ask women to help them with something. So for us no scandal at all, That is because we look at it from a 21st century mindset and not from a first century point of view. In the first century especially if they were a good devout Jew reading today’s gospel reading this would have been the most scandalous chapter in the whole New Testament. To them it would have been all the proof they needed that Jesus in their eyes anyway was not the Messiah, a prophet or a holy man. Everything Jesus was supposed to do according to the 613 laws of the Pharisee’s he didn’t do and everything they said he wasn’t supposed to do he did. Had they had the National Enquirer back in those days this would have been front page news at least if the religious people had had their way. Why is this?

Read more

St. Patrick Versus the Snakes All Gory Be to Jesus

St. Patrick Versus the Snakes All Gory Be to Jesus
How St. Patrick Drove All the Snakes in Ireland in to the Sea

By
Brother Lawrence Damien

Dear family

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Allegedly he drove all the snakes in Ireland into the sea and that is why there are no snakes in Ireland today. Some however say there have never been any snakes in Ireland for St Patrick to have driven into the sea and therefore the story is a myth. I have a friend Botox O’Malley who is a leprechaun. For those who may not what they are they are Irish fairies.

Botox stands about three feet tall and has a beard. He likes to wear green along with a pointed hat and buckled shoes. Since he is a shoemaker he wears a leather apron. He also likes to smoke a pipe though I don’t recommend that as it’s not good for your health. After all we are not fairies; He is a very weather beaten old man who claims to have been around since Adam and Eve. While I can’t prove that I think it’s safe to say he has been around a whole lot longer than either you or me. As far as I know he has only one fault. Let me explain.

Read more

Why Do We Do The Stations Of The Cross?

During the season of Lent many churches do what are called the Stations of the Cross. These are fourteen stations, which re-enact the last moments of Jesus life here on earth from His condemnation before Pilate through His body being laid in the tomb. We get to walk with Christ along the same path He took and learn what it cost Him to purchase our salvation. Some may feel so what. Others may argue that not all the events recorded in the fourteen stations are actually found in the Bible and several are found in tradition only. For instance there is no record in the Gospels of Jesus falling once let alone three times. Nor is there any record of a woman named Veronica wiping the face of Jesus or of His actually meeting His mother on His way to the cross. Not to say they didn’t happen just to say they are not found in the gospels. However is that the point? Our we just going through a reenactment of a historical event or is there something else happening here and something that we are supposed to be learning, being reminded of and changed by.

HISTORY OF THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Although the actual origins of the Stations of the Cross are lost in antiquity some scholars believe Saint Cyril introduced them during His reign as Bishop at Jerusalem. This was done to help the thousands that came to Jerusalem each year during Lent and the Easter seasons wanting to see the places where the events of Passion Week took place, to experience the sufferings of Christ being thereby identified with Him in His sufferings. Later they were reproduced in churches, monasteries and other holy places so that those who could not make it to Jerusalem to experience them could still do them just as they did in Jerusalem. Tradition says that Mary went each day to visit each of the sites her Son took along the Via Dolorosa or the way of sorrow. It needs to be noted here that while that may have been possible while they lived in Jerusalem ultimately she moved with Saint John to Ephesus and died there. Since earliest times the faithful had come to Jerusalem during Passion Week to venerate the places of Christ suffering and death. Indulgences were granted at certain Stations of the Cross and in 1540 Pope Leo X granted an indulgence of 100 days off time in Purgatory for those who did the Stations of the Cross. In 1742 Pope Benedict XIV fixed the number at the current fourteen stations we have today. So what does all this have to do with us today? What value is there in them or is it just a futile exercise we go through?

Read more

Is Priestly Celibacy Biblical or Historically Correct?

In case anyone is interested I have done the following on Priestly Celibacy for my church. Thought some of you might be interested in the history of where the idea comes from so am sharing it here. If there are any Roman Catholic who are members of our group this is not a put down of your church but to show the difference between my church which does allow priests to marry and the RC doctrine on the same.

Dear family,

Recently I posted an article on Pope Francis being willing to entertain the thought of ordaining married men to the priesthood under certain circumstances especially in areas where there are a shortage of priests. The Roman Catholic Church has maintained that priestly celibacy is commanded by scripture and a tradition passed down from apostolic times. Other like the Communion of Synodal Catholic Churches believes that biblically and historically the church has always allowed its priests to marry and also ordained women to the priesthood. I would like to look at the history of where clerical celibacy comes from and why then look at the biblical foundation for allowing priests to marry.

First let me state that for the first 300 years of church history married men and women were ordained to the priesthood without any problems. In the early church it has been argued by some, that early Christian practice was that married men who became priests were often older men “elders” and were to live in complete continence. They were to refrain permanently from sexual relations with their wives. When at a later stage it was discovered that not all priests were abstaining or refraining the Western Church limited ordination to unmarried men and required a commitment to lifelong celibacy.

Read more

The Power of God

Dear family,

Find enclosed my latest poem. Hope you all enjoy and comments are always welcomed

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

The Power of God
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

I have been broken but not forsaken,
Knocked down but not kept down
I’ve felt pain but that was gain
For the power of God is leading me on.

The power of God leads me on,
Higher and higher focused on
The road that leads me to eternal dawn,
Always keeping me going on and on.

This power has raised me from the grave of sin
This power has given me new life within
This power of God draws me closer to Him
Till the day I cross over into eternity with Him.

With this power of God I am pressing on
Never giving up but going on
The devil can’t ever turn me around
Because in the power of God I’m heaven bound.

Is War and Killing Ever Justified?

Dear Family
A couple of days I posted an article on peace and violence I had found on the internet that I thought made a good case for non violence and peace. Today I would like to explore that a bit further with some of my own thoughts

Two Different Views On War

1. Just War Theory

This is the idea that under certain circumstances it is permissible for Christians to join the military and fight for one’s country or other justifiable causes.

2. Peace and Non Violence

This is the idea that war and violence are never justified and therefore are immoral.

Which of these options are biblically correct as applies to Christians? If there are times or places where war and killing can be justified then I believe the message of peace is wrong. Humans can always find ways to justify going to war or killing someone in my opinion. However I, and many others, believe war is wrong under all circumstances and cannot be justified. Thus for Christians the message of peacemaking is the only viable option for Christians to embrace and follow.

Read more

The Sermon On the Mount and Caesar’s Sword

Dear Family

As anyone knows who knows me very well knows I am an pacifist committed to non violence. I believe all wars are immoral and that we as Christians and followers of Jesus are called to be peacemakers. Enclosed find an article that for me sums up the case very well for non violence using the Sermon on the Mount and the teachings of St. Paul. It is written by Pastor Brian Zahnd of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph Missouri. I know nothing about the man but do like what he has to say here and therefore am passing it along. I found it interesting, inspiring and definitely food for thought, meditation on and let God speak to us about what is shared here. As always any comments are welcomed.

Read more

Why Do We Celebrate Lent?

Dear family and friends

We have recently gone through Epiphany/Ordinary Times and been introduced to Jesus in many different settings. Then we came to Shrove Tuesday ate out pancakes, took stock of ourselves, confessed our sins, received absolution and penances to do during Lent, Then we arrived at Ash Wednesday and got faced with our own mortality and the fact we will all one day die and our earthly bodies return to dust. Now we have come to Lent. So why Lent and where is all this taking us to? What is its intended purpose and why do it at all?

Some may say in Lent we give up something special that we really like for the duration of the season. Others may say it’s about remembering Jesus 40 day fast in the Wilderness. Still others might say it is about doing the Stations of the Cross and walking with him along the Via Dolorosa suffering in spirit what he did on that fateful day. Others especially monastics it may be about special Lenten practices or devotions. Some might think its about suffering and feeling pain. Many seek to have themselves nailed to a cross like Christ was, or either whip themselves or have themselves whipped until blood is gushing from their wounds inflicted on their bodies. Many of those may be of some value during our Lenten journey. However if that is all we do where do we end up at? We end up at the tomb brokenhearted, full of despair and hopelessness. All our dreams, ambitions, lie buried with the dead body of Christ. It seems like it’s all over and we can go no further. Guess what we can’t go any further in our old man/nature and we can’t hold unto our old wineskins. Therefore Good Friday is the end of the road for us. That my friend is why we need Lent.

Read more

Pastoral Letter on President Trumps Immigration Policies

Dear Friends and Family

Enclosed find a pastoral letter on the immigration policy of President Trump that was issued to my church, and in which I stand 100% behind in solidarity with my bishops as well as with immigrants.

It is shared here in the hopes some will endorse and embrace what is shared here and may want to consider similar letter and adopt something like what my church has done. Many will probably take exception to what is shared here and that’s fine we will simply agree to disagree. Comments welcomed.

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos (aka John Brown)
SynodalCatholics.org
3265 State Road 580,
Safety Harbor, FL 34695-4929

27 February 2017
Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

“When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” ~ Leviticus 19: 33-34

Read more

What is Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday)

What is Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday)?
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

A week from today many will be gathering in their churches to eat pancakes and celebrate Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. It marks the end of Ordinary times or Epiphany depending on your tradition and getting ready for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season on the following day. It’s impossible to know exactly when the tradition of marking the beginning of Lent began. Aelfric of Eynsham writes in “Ecclesiastical Institute” written about 1000 AD

“In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance”.

Read more

What is Ash Wednesday

by Brother Lawrence Damien CoS

Dear Family,

In a week we will celebrate Ash Wednesday and many of us will be going to church to get our foreheads marked with the sign of the cross from ashes made from burning last year’s Palm Branches that were used and blessed on Palm Sunday. So why will we be doing this? What is the significance of having ashes in the sign of the cross put on our foreheads? What is the biblical support for the practice? The following is a study I put together that I hope will answer the above questions and help those to understand who belong to churches which don’t practice it or help those whose churches do practice it to better understand why we do it? Hope you will all be blessed by it.

I. What is Ash Wednesday All About?

Ash Wednesday is the day when we are reminded of our own mortality. We are reminded that we will all die one day and so keep that in mind as we plan our lives. As the priest says as he makes the sign of the cross on you with the ashes

“…For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Read more

Old Testament Thoughts On Hell

The first place where we encounter the idea of hell is in the Old Testament. It is called Sheol and is mentioned over 60 times. However it was not seen as a place of punishment. Instead it was seen as the common grave of all mankind. It didn’t matter whether you were rich, poor, good, evil, master or slave you still went to Sheol. Job speaks of this idea when he says:

Read more

To Tell Or Not To Tell – What Would Jesus Do?

Recently there has been much discussion on whether or not to come out of the closet. Who do we tell if we do? Do we tell everyone and flaunt our beliefs in their face? While I live openly as a gay man I also understand the need because of family, church, friends, job and a myriad of other reasons, that may not be practical for some.

So then does that mean it’s ok to hide in the closet and deny what we are? It is my belief that leads to a whole lot of suffering and needless pain as we try to be something we are not. It also causes pain as we try live up to someone else’s conception of what we should be, and aren’t true to ourselves. We are also not being true to how God created us to be and what He wants for us.

Read more

Encounters of the Sacred Kind – Are They Biblical?

The following study is based on an article sent to me by Bruce Kine called Close Encounters of the Sacred Kind by Lee Speigel, a contributor to AOL News. It also includes the opinions of Rev. Barry Downing, a retired Presbyterian minister who believes that earth has been visited by extraterrestrial beings since Bible times and believes the Bible proves it. He has said that,

“If UFOs are some type of intelligent power from another world, they may have been around for millions of years and may have been involved in the development of the biblical religion, and I do believe that is the case,”

Read more

I’m Gay and Its OK

A look at what the Bible says about homosexuality as discovered by a conservative Evangelical Charismatic Gay Christian pastor



Preface



As a gay Christian for many years I have struggled with the issues of the Bible and homosexuality. I have tried to reconcile what I was taught, what I thought I understood the Bible to teach, and my own sexuality. This then is the story of one Christian’s journey and what he discovered. It is written so that others who may be struggling with the same issues can read it and relate. Hopefully through it you can come to find a loving God, acceptance and love through it. It is also written for those who although not gay may be struggling with the issue.

Read more

Were Jesus and the Apostle John Lovers?

Some right now might consider me a heretic and want to stone me for even asking such a question. However there are those within the gay community who would insist they were (lovers), and this can be proven from the Bible. So who’s right?

There are only five scriptures that speak of any special love between Jesus and the Apostle John. They are as follows:

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23 NKJV)

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!'” (John 19:26)

Read more

Revolution of the Marginalized

As I was meditating on the messages of this past weekend specifically the message of Pastor John on Saturday morning and Pastor Cavalain’s on Friday night and Saturday morning I began to feel God speaking to me what I believe may be the next step in fulfillment of the vision of the tapestry given to me awhile back.presented here for your consideration, prayer, and if you agree with it to then help implement it in your lives first, then help find ways for us as the Disciplined Order of Christ to implement it, as well as our respective churches.

As I was praying, meditating and seeking God Saturday afternoon at our retreat the words “Revolution of the Marginalized” came to my mind. As I further meditated on this phrase God began to speak to me further.

Read more