This website/blog is dedicated to Saint Melangell, a long time patron saint of mine. She’s a wonderful Celtic saint who spent her life trying to make a safe place for folks amongst the thorns, thickets, and briarpatches of society and of the world. Heaven knows this old world is full of dark places and prickly people. It seems everywhere you look these days there’s a fox or wolf just waiting to devour you.
I hope that this will become a safe place to “let my hair down” and simply be and it’s my intent for it to be a safe place for you too so that we might simply “be” together. Come on in and hide in the Briarpatch with ole Br’er Abbot.
The world is such a busy, busy place and the demands are often so great. I guess I don’t know how it is for you, but it’s that way for me. I have discovered that I needed a place to slow down, unwind, and express myself in words and thoughts and since I’m a social creature I thought I’d share them with you online in the form of this blog.
I guess I should explain a little about the name of the blog and who I am. My name is Brian Ernest Brown and I’m an artist, an activist, a writer, a poet, and a very reluctant eclectic priest who feels inextricably drawn to the love of Christ and to preach that gospel message of radical love everywhere I go. I celebrate inclusivity, compassion, grace, diversity, justice, peace, and love – the greatest of which is love.
Since my earliest memories I have felt a calling toward care-giving, hospice, religious freedom, social justice, diversity, animal rights, compassion, peace, poetry, literature, music, and art.
I’m an avid and vociferous supporter of LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous) rights. They are, after all, simply human rights, rights for every one of us to be who God created us to be and love whom we choose, how we choose.
Spiritually, I am a baptized and confirmed Episcopalian who is drawn to the Free Catholic Movement and the Celtic expression of the Christian faith but who also has deep roots in Wicca and a love of the earth based religions. I’m very ecumenical and can find the seeds of truth and beauty in many different religious paths, but for me, the one that whispers to my heart and soothes my soul is the story about Jesus and his band of misfits. It’s because of Jesus and his example that I practice radical inclusivity, compassion, and hospitality in all areas of my life.
I’m also an “episcopus vagans” (Latin for “wandering bishop”) and in “peregrinatio pro Christo (Latin for “exile for Christ”). You see, my ordination and consecration was within the Free Catholic Movement and so finds its expression and empowerment outside of any mainline denomination.
I serve as the Presiding Archbishop of Christ Catholic Church Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace and the Abbot General of the Order of the Shepherd’s Heart, an ecumenical Celtic Christian religious order. We are Celtic in spirit, ecumenical in scope, and celebrate a deeply sacramental approach to the Christian faith.
Anyway, on with the story about this blog’s name. During the General Chapter of the Order of the Shepherd’s Heart one year, one of our brothers, Venerable Brother Andrew, starting calling me Br’er Abbot, short for Brother Abbot. I don’t know if he was thinking of my love of St. Melangell and her hares or if he had in mind my propensity for thumbing my nose at the secular dictates of society and thus getting myself into trouble from time to time like our ole friend Br’er Rabbit from the Uncle Remus stories. Whatever his quirky-friendly motives were, the nickname stuck and here I am, Br’er Abbot.
I have a deep love of art of all kinds but primarily I paint and work with glass. When painting, I like to work with oils and acrylics mainly, though from time to time I dabble in watercolors. I love abstract and impressionistic art, and work primarily to capture stories, concepts, and nature with color. I am also, for the most part, a self-taught glassblower and have been making glass for over 26 years and enjoy not only lampwork glassblowing but also glass fusing, slumping, glass jewelry making, and stained glass. Working with glass has been a great joy in my life and it continues to delight me with every new creation.
I live in the gently rolling Ozark Mountains amongst the artsy folk there. I’m blessed to live in community, albeit a scattered one, by sharing Our Common Rule of Life from the Order of the Shepherd’s Heart. Sometimes I’m more successful at following it than at other times but I intentionally keep on trying, I guess that’s why they call it intentional living! Be that as it may, the Order of the Shepherd’s Heart, much like the Ozark Mountains, is home for me! Home is where the heart is don’t you know!
I’ve been described before as a “Volvo driving, wine drinking liberal” and I wear the moniker with pride. I do consider myself a liberal and most definitely I consider myself a Christian. I guess you could say that I’m unapologetically Christian and unapologetically Liberal. I have a free spirit, a caring heart, and an open mind.
I can hear a dear friend and mentor of mine exclaim, “Vanity, it’s all vanity!” I suppose! Well, perhaps anyway!
Be that as it may, I hope you enjoy your time here and please, feel free to comment or connect whichever you feel like. My posts will probably be erratic and even perhaps often without substance or much thought but they’ll be from my heart or maybe even from my gut.
May God and Saint Melangell save thee!
+Brian Ernest Brown, OSH