Silliman's Papers

The documents page for

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Names Come November
            by Daniel Silliman
            Summer ‘03

Dragons, singing songs of smoke,
Once in time before this time.
Singing the smoke of dragons
With green scales and long legends
Of dragons. Once
There were dragons with names
            Names with dragons
In the time before time.
Once, before this time
A time when dragons had names
Names to display upon dragon caves.
A time for names of dragons,
Gone now.
Names of dragons.
Once, when there were names.

His name is John, he said
One word on the paper: John
Driven into the wilderness and gone
With that name
His head was put upon a platter
With that name…

My name is Ishmael,
            and it matters.
            And it matters.
            It is my name,
            and it matters
            because my name isn’t so much mine
            as it is me.
Its act of signification
Is my presence in the world,
My role in syntax.
Without signification I am without.
My name is Ishmael and it matters.

I fell in love with the woman
Who said my name
And it wasn’t narcisstic
Except in that easy way
Of smiling when you hear
Your name in a poem,
Of smiling
At your face in a mirror,
Of smiling at the one you love for sheer love
And putting her name
In a poem.
I fell in love with the woman
Saying my name.
I turned around but she never said it again
I think maybe she forgot
                        forgot the syllables
                        forgot how
                        forgot ___my name

And it was a drizzly November in my soul, or
It would have been, but
November couldn’t come
Come November
November couldn’t come
You can’t ask directions to a soul without a name.

Listening in that easy narcissism
Of listening for my own name
In a poem.
Listening for my name upon on the waves of sound
In a poem.
Listening for the sound that is me,
Sound forming identity
In a poem.
Reflecting my reflection
In a poem.

Hell is other people
Mispronouncing your name
—Sauter, Sart, Sartray—
Self slapped.
An ignorant fool gutting my identity
With his donated T
Barrels of T, extra letters and sounds
contorting me
And my name.
—Stillman, Sullivan, Solomon—

In the dream my family becomes a gang, all of us
Stomping and beating and kicking
The man who mispronounced our name.
Our name.

They say it’s an annoying habit—using names
            where less would carry the story,
            naming persons
            where characters would do
            using names—insisting names.

I’m always telling stories
            long stories
            using names
            full names
            first names and last names
            to ground the narrative
            to found the narrative
            using names
            where others say this guy—a friend—the man—a kid I once knew—
            using names to humanize
            names in the stories I tell
            with names.

                        Emily, Emily
“Either we’re the same person
Or our names don’t mean anything”
Our names don’t mean anything
And I have no name.

Said the six-year-old of semiotics:
“It is just that ‘names’ play a more complicated role in grammar than you had
Names don’t work like that. Your name wasn’t that

And so linguistics took it all away
All away,
Took salvation,
Took it all away and then
Come November
Even took damnation,
All away
All away.

The whale was named Moby and the chicken was Bob.
The poem was named Jones.
And there wasn’t a reason really
No reason,
Only names.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A short history of Western Orthodoxy
and a response to the Cook and Silliman discussion

I must say that the steps that you say must be taken for an Anglican
congregation to enter canonical Eastern Orthodoxy again have already been done. The Moscow Synod under +Tykon looked at the book of common prayer and with a few changes accepted it into practice for evangelizing America. A few changes, such a stronger epiclesis were attached. These are not a problem really, they are just "safer". I must make the point that your views about the distraction that ecumenism brings is selfish and ecclesiastical isolationism. May I point out,
that although our salvation should be our primary goal, the way we establish
salvation within ourselves is not only by personal mysticism but by literally
touching the outside world, by establishing order in disorder, not hiding our
light under a bushel. (Three arguments as to why EO in its present zeitgeist are
protestants. 1) the only universal definition of protestantism is that it is
a church that protests the supremacy of the Bp. of Rome and thus EO is a
protestant church - a cheap shot, I know. 2) this tendency to want to be safe,
reveals an unfortunate desire to not touch the world. Things must be touched to be healed. tobacco, drinking, etc. all must be touched to be healed from its
fallen state by Christ through us his servants. A floppy bible Christian does not
want to touch these things, but to remain safe. An EO Christian does not seem
to want to endanger losing a tradition by touching other traditions, thus
perhaps losing the purity of their sanctifying system of theosis, (sort of
pharaisical when you consider the parable of the good Samaritan). I agree that one must be careful to change things of tradition lest one lose something that was there for a good reason. This is dangerous, but danger is our middle names as Christian Soldiers! 3) I can't remember the third point.)

A church that is tainted with heresy must be touched to be healed. It can not
simply become exactly like the other "C"hurch just to become safely Orthodox.
If you do make it exactly like the other Church, you may lose an important
part of another tradition that is both Orthodox and helpful to all. And, it goes
against the nature of the ever-expanding light of Christ to simply suck in
other Christians to make them good Byzantine boys and girls. That is not
expansion, in my mind, it is more like a black hole. But I doubt that you can see my perspective. This touching to heal, to expell the heresy from the Anglican
tradition, is the mission for an Anglo-Catholic like myself. Thus we will not
lose anything Orthodox by dropping our treasure chest of our 1700 years of
English Christianity to go be good Ortho-boys and girls.

-- When I describe myself, I describe myself as an Orthodox Catholic of the
Anglican Tradition. Interestingly, enough, when I speak to a Copt they
describe themselves as Orthodox Christians of the Coptic Tradition. I like the
Oriental Orthodox because they really believe Branch Theory as far as the theory is important to me. If the EO can acknowledge the Copts as Orthodox, they MUST
acknowledge the Orthodox of the Anglican tradition as such. There really is no

-- One of your objections is that the liturgy is not consistently Orthodox
all the way through. I do not know if you concur with this objection of yours
or simply say that such an objection exists. I understand that such an
objection to the Anglican Rite exists. The Anglican Rite in its present state is a
quite interesting history. Let me just say that no liturgy is without some
change as it evolves through history, organically as you put it. The Anglican Rite
is organic, it grew, simply put. Anything that evolves unless it deviates
essentially from a previous form, is organic. The point of any liturgy, as you
well know, is that it is essentially correct and has all the proper and essential
points in it necessary for a Eucharistic liturgy - it must have the same
"form" as every other liturgy. The Anglican Rite has this. Furthermore, it is not,
as you might believe an Orthodox liturgy, that turned into a Roman liturgy,
that turned into a reformation liturgy. It is a continuous chain of liturgies
from the Gallican Rite, to the York Rite, to the Sarum Rite, to the Book of
Common Prayer. And this is scandalously simply put. All of these liturgies were
indigenously English. Cramner, when developing the Book of Common Prayer, even looked back to the Liturgy of St. James to make sure that the Sarum Rite that he was translating and editing corresponded to the earliest liturgy in form
and such and making additions to make it fit the universal form - including both
an ascending (Roman/Sarum style) epiclesis and a descending (Eastern)
epiclesis - perhaps just to be on the safe side.

-- Next, as to your belief that the English church "became" heretical after
the Norman Conquest - I find it interesting that you say that those who were
"Orthodox" went to Roumania and Byzantium after the Norman Conquest. I have
never heard this, although I would not be surprised that the Saxons did leave and
go not only from Denmark but from England to Roumania. As I understand it, a
Roumanian ruler asked for help (just as Vortigern once asked help from the
Saxons), to defend Roumania against the muslims??? I assume these Saxons are the persons you refer to who left England to escape what you describe as the
Romanizing of England. Interestingly, the Saxons, of course, were evangelized by an earlier Roman ecclesiastical invasion under St. Augustine of Canterbury - an
action sanctioned by a Bp. of Rome who believed himself to be Supreme, if I am
not mistaken. So, that sets your date for the heretical prosletyzing of
England at 600 A.D. These Saxons, as I understand it, used the completely English liturgy of York. The Sarum Usage was instituted under Norman Bishops. But even this is extremely Eastern and Orthodox. Remember that although the Normans might be called Franks, they were from Normandy, near Brittany and could have been more accustomed to a Celtic style liturgy. The Celtic or Gallican liturgy comes almost at an embryonic developmental stage to Iraneaus' church in Lyon from the Asia Minor tradition under which he was taught. (Another reason why our Apostolic Succession is extremely sound, coming not only from Rome but from Turkey). The Sarum Usage is extremely Eastern, including not only a rood screen (western Iconostasis) with very proper Icons (these icons continued through the Celtic, Saxon and Norman regimes) and with Curtains over the rood screen and sanctuary at all times or at certain times, such as lent when all icons and the sanctuary itself would be covered. The Sarum Usage also included fans! for the deacons to use during consecration. Such things also existed in Ireland.
These are not "Roman" things. Such things continued in a very non-uniform
(allowing for various diocesan and parish traditions) right up to the reformation.

-- Next, as to these bishops after the Norman period being completely
"heretical" and endorsing the supremacy of the Patriarch of Rome. It was never
universal. Remember, please, that before the fall of Constantinople and after that
in Russia - Papal Supremacy is opposed by an ecclesiology that includes a
singular symbolic head known as the Emperor. In Europe all through the Middle
Ages, and especially in the borderlands of the Roman Empire, the rights of a King
versus the rights of the Pope were often fought over. This understanding of
the King as somewhat authoritative on some issues in the Church is perfectly
consistent with Orthodox ecclesiology, unless we are nit picking. Both
traditions of seeing the King as the one who sits at judgement at a council, but
perhaps staying relatively quiet, or reserving the right to pick bishops, yada yada,
although one can argue over what exact rights the King has, is something that
is consistent with Orthodox ecclesiology and comes from the way Constantine
endorsed the Church. Remember that the pagan Saxon king sat in judgement at the Synod of Whitby. Many Bishops backed the kings against the supremacy of the Pope and almost all if not all did back the king when it came to the
Reformation. Some bishops in England and elsewhere in Europe were just as uncertain as any Ortho how much power the Pope really had, again unless we are really really really nit picking.

-- Therefore, knowing the nature of parishes that are isolated, where a
bishop rarely visits, and that holds traditions as they hold the Faith itself, I
can safely say that there were always parishes that were not "hereticified" by
the Normans, Saxons, or some secret spies from the Vatican - from the earliest
times all the way to the reformation. Furthermore, there were bishops all the
way through, especially in isolated Celtic areas, if not in isolated Saxon
areas, that did not endorse Papal Supremacy or any of those things. They stayed,
they did not all pick up and move to the New Jerusalem at Constantinople.
Therefore, up until the reformation we have good evidence to say that there was
an Orthodox "underground" or remnant in England the whole time. I can project
that this was the case by knowing the nature of churches in general and by the
actions and stances that bishops tended to take. This, you must admit, is a
very hard point to prove. The records showing how individual bishops felt about
Papal Supremacy, Purgatory, etc. are hard to find. Even if the "in" bishops
endorsed such things, there are always dissenters who do not "stoop" to playing
politics and getting in good with the king. We do know that there were
priests' riots over the orders from Rome to be celibate and that priests continued to marry in isolated areas for years. Do you think a deliberate neglect of a
Papal command would be disobeyed if every priest believed the Pope to be Supreme?

-- Nevertheless, speaking about the nature of the Church, how can the
Church, in its undivided sense, be geographically located. It can be very noticeable
one place or in one communion, but there are many times when Orthodox bishops
have subsisted in many places among outnumbering heretics (this is actually
more the norm). The distance from England to the East is far and communication
confused even today and so how can one expect a bishop in England to be in
communion with a Church that he truly agrees with (if enough contact allowed such things to be agreed upon) and to be official and canonically in comminion
with it and not simply be in communion with the "True Church" as it exists in the
mind of God? I.E. if a bishop in Scotland were "really Orthodox" how could he
"submit" to Constantinople. It is mind-bogglingly impossible to build such
relations. The best thing to do is what we do today in the Anglican churches, we
submit ourselves to a truly Orthodox bishop within our Traditition and say to
Hell with the heretics of today - Where the (Orthodox) bishop is, there is
the Church. This is all one can do. Basically, for a laymen to be Orthodox in
England during the Middle Ages he could not be in communion with Constantinople, he could, however, be under a right believing Bishop or Abbot. Which happened all the time. The English Church during the middle ages was never completely "heretical". Those who endorsed Papal Supremacy may not have even understood it as Romans today would or as the Italian bishops hanging around Rome during the Middle Ages did. Remember France saw Papal Supremacy as simply a way to make Italian bishops better than everybody else (England and elsewhere often felt the same way), thus they turned it around on Rome with the Avignon popes. (The Orthodox Church is never Geographic, those who are not heretics and are truly Orthodox are all over the place. The battle of Christ and Satan is fought over and over again, parish by parish, like the cities of France during the War of the Roses. Sometimes this parish in this location is right-believing, sometimes it is not. You really must give up this Fairy Tale view of the Eastern Church. The Orthodox believers were sometimes here and sometimes there and never in all the East all the time and Western churchmen were not all heretics after a certain point. And in the same way the case can be made that in far off England as well as areas of France, Germany and Scandinavia the same was true.

-- During the Reformation, there were three schools of thought. "Catholic",
Lutheran, and Calvinist. The Bishops of England all agreed to leave the see of
Rome. The "Catholic" bishops, with Henry VIII, wrote the ten articles - which
outlined almost all the things that made England Orthodox, rejecting what you
would object to in the Roman Church. The Lutheran school took over and was
debating with the Calvinist side. Lutheran Theology, if understood not in the
way Lutherans do today, but as it was first put forth is pretty Orthodox. German
Lutherans lack the understanding of Bishops! But England never accepted all
of Luther's theology. Despite the failure of talks between Lutherans and EOs -
Anglicans use a lot of Lutheran language but expound a pretty Orthodox view of
things - if you read the Articles of Religion correctly. All that the
Lutheran Anglicans did was make it clear that Roman extremist practices, that they saw in England, but moreover had heard about in the continent, would cease.
These Roman extremes you would object to and these Lutheran Anglicans expounded a much more mystical view on the sacraments, fighting the Anglican "Catholic" party who wanted to retain the theological language of the Dominicans and Franciscans. The Calvinists basically helped the process a little but hurt it more. They had some good points, but given a true Calvinist's view on only being with other "saved" people, they exited the Church of England rather quickly. I hazard to state that what Calvinist phrases and explanations stayed in the Church of England could be argued to be Calvinist statements that understood in an Orthodox way are perfectly Orthodox (There is no time to go into this now).

-- So then, we have as you call it, the shaking off of the Roman heresy,
finally, officially and then for the next four hundred years a chaotic fight to
work out the truth of Orthodoxy once the Roman extremes were gone. This
natural process of kicking the heretical Anglicans (complete Calvinists, complete
Lutherans, complete Methodists) out has produced, in the end, the Oxford
Movement - which placed the Orthodox tenants of the Faith right where it should have been and within FIFTY years established bridges with the Orthodox that are
phenomenal and long-lasting.

-- So you now have the Anglican Tradition's history, in short. There were
always heretics and there were always people who from their mother's lap learned
the Orthodox Faith, as well as they could understand it given the heresy
around them. The English Church has been tainted many times and recovered, while growing organically and consistently being always very much what it was in the beginning, the Orthodox Catholic Faith in the Anglican Tradition. We have been tainted, but so has the Eastern Orthodox Church. We have maintained an
Orthodox tradition and so have you.

-- I know what the Orthodox Catholic Faith is and I know how to live it in the Anglican Tradition. I grew up in it. You are the convert. We are called to fight for this Faith and to touch disorder and through Christ bring order and thus we shall need to pray so that we might be living solely on Christ. When we pray and live
solely on Christ we are deified. I ask you to throw off any sense of staying
"Safe" and to stop having ecclesiastical isolationistic tendencies. Embrace your
Coptic brethren and when we Anglicans have once again struck the heretics down
(ordination of women, homosexuality, etc.), maybe you can see the Orthodox among us and embrace us too.



March 2002   April 2002   June 2002   July 2002   August 2002   September 2002   March 2003   April 2003   August 2003   September 2003   October 2003   November 2003   December 2003   October 2004   April 2005   May 2005   September 2005   October 2005   December 2005   February 2006   October 2006   January 2008   June 2008  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?