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R.I.P The Chip

Few things were more glorious than the common chip. I lament its demise. Now it may live on in England and scattered outposts in the US, but I find no trace of the authentic, wonderfully ordinary chipped potato here.

True, fast food emporiums offer an emaciated version with every meal except a salad. The frozen food section at the supermarket has “crinkle cut” or “steak fries” mutations, which are never fried, but bask in the heat of an oven and emerge pasty and flabby.

When I order “French Fries” in local eateries, I am served a pile of reddish tinged creatures. When asked, the person plonking food before me explains that they are “seasoned”, who knows with what.  All the malt vinegar in the world will not disguise their taste, reminiscent of decaying vegetation, 0r that concoction smeared on one’s wrist during an operation, resistant to soap and all other cleaning material.

What did the common chip do to deserve such a fate?  Once a good firm baking potato was peeled, plunged in cold water, cut into decent lengths, neither too fat nor too thin, placed in a metal basket and then plunged into hot oil from which it emerged in its glorious simplicity to accompany a plate of fried fish with mushy peas, or a good meat pie, always doused in good malt vinegar and salted, or heaven of heaven, thrust upon a piece of good white bread spread with authentic butter and lidded with another unbuttered slice to form a chip butty.

I wonder whether I could found a society for the Preservation of Rite One and the Common Chip, for both face extinction. Could Integrity be behind this?  Wait for breaking news!


I broke my right wrist. Got up in the middle of the night, stumbled, fell and snap. I was staying at the cabin, a shack two and a half miles up a one lane dirt road in the mountains of North Carolina . Thus began my sage on the left!  I drove myself down the dirt road and then another eight miles to the emergency room. I arrived at 2:am. Another person was admitted at the same time with the same problem. He was three sheets to the wind, abusive and loud.  The medical staff arrived at my room sh.ell shocked from their encounter with the drunken young man, confessing that they were bidding to treat me  rather than the unfortunate young man who partied too thoroughly.

A temporary cast was fixed in place and I was told to get to my orthopedist swiftly. He was twelve hours away and I was booked to preach locally the following Sunday before driving home. So with the help Of pain pills I stayed in the mountains over the weekend and preached. Goodness knows what I said.

With me on my vacation were the three dogs and my ancient cat Hemmingway.  The simplest things like feeding myself, cooking, and preparing the cabin for leaving took ages. Fr. Paul, one of my son Mark’s friend came up to help me pack as did a couple of Mark’s former parishioners.

The journey h.ome, driving with. my left hand for twelve hours with the animals was hell. Trucks seemed more dangerous: why did the US let its railways go to hell? I was utterly exhausted for days.

My doctor put a hard cast in place and thought the wrist would heal. A week or so ago he changed his mind. So he operated, inserted a plate and pins, and made my use of my right fingers less available. If all looks well next Wednesday I’ll have another hard cast in place. Parishioners have been bringing in food, and Fr. Frank, my “rival” APA priest has watered my plants, fed the zoo and been so kind and helpful. I will celebrate th.is Sunday and have been doing as much as I can in the parish. I find myself getting exasperated. Everything is a struggle and takes so long to accomplish. At least I shall have more sympathy with the disabled!  Did you know that scissors dont work with the left hand?

This blog, typed largely with my left fingers is taking an age to write. All of which is to explain why I haven’t blogged much lately. I did manage to write two articles for The Living Church and write a blog asking traditionalists to be less  strident in worrying about the wretched Standing Committee of the ACC.  Didn’t earn me any browny points!  I am praying that I will be more agile once i get a wrist cast.  My younger son Philip says he is going to wrap me in bubble wrap.

I’m told I have osteoporosis!  With a rod and pin in my left hip and now a plate and pins in my right wrist I am swiftly becoming the bionic priest.  I th.ink I shall put ASP after my name: all spare parts.


Articles have recently appeared on a number of websites and blogs attacking elements of the new constitution adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council and its standing committee.  These bodies have recently been registered under English not for profit company law and in the process, it is suggested, a number of new elements have emerged which may endanger the Communion, shift power from one group to another or even undermine the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

It has even been suggested that retaining a legal status in England, the site of such property as the Communion owns, enforces the suggestion that Church of England is clinging to the vestiges of colonial authority. Others worry that the European Union might now be entitled to interfere in Communion affairs.  The primary concern seems to be that the new body may position itself to dilute such authority the proposed Anglican Covenant may vest in the Instruments of Communion, which in addition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference includes the Anglican Consultative Council and its standing committee. Note that a standing committee by definition is a committee of the body which appoints it and must answer to that body.

At the root of this unease is the concern that the ACC in membership will continue to reflect the dominance of  the “Western” predominantly white churches and thus produce a buttress for the North American Provinces against attempts to discipline them. One might well reflect that the recent travels of the US Presiding Bishop to the provinces of the Communion which, with the possible exception of New Zealand are white and “liberal” underscores a backlash against the rest of the Communion, composed of people of non-white races, who now in terms of “membership” far outstrip the older white provinces.  There remains more than a hint of patronage in the determination of western liberals to, if not dominate a future Communion, at least create a political base to provide safety.  Western liberals are sure that in time, as the Third World become more “civilized” it will become more receptive to “progressive” thought and practice.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s legal officer, John Rees, has attempted to quieten the fears of those who suspect that the ACC is now a danger to orthodoxy. Poor Mr. Rees is hardly the best choice to perform such a mission after the muddle in which he participated at the last meeting of the ACC in Jamaica and his office is not noted for its efficiency or the swiftness of its actions even in small matters.

Yet one must observe that the resignation of important traditionalist members of the standing committee has been ill-advised. One may not logically complain that seats are being filled by inappropriate people when they are vacated by those who now accuse the ACC of being some form of a liberal bastion. While traditionalists continue to run away rather than participate, their voices and votes won’t count however large their constituency may be. It is as if traditionalists really want the Communion to appear liberal in order to excuse their desertion. If traditionalists remained they would govern. Certainly they would call the shots in a Communion which would not be entirely to their liking, but that’s Anglicanism. If the traditionalist agenda is to create an Anglican Communion of like-minded people why not become Roman Catholic?

There remain utterly puzzling developments such as the appointment to the ACC of a South African priest of advanced liberal views, and that from a province whose new primate recently chided the Episcopal Church for the consecration of Bishop Glasspool.

The point of the Covenant is to secure the borders of conformity and perhaps create a status for those who find such territory too narrow which does not drive them into schism. It is not the object of the Covenant to create an Act of Uniformity. Anglican liberality, the right to think, to question, to explore defines, in part, who we are. The object of the Covenant is not to silence dissenting voices but to constrain local synods from enacting measures which compromise the essential faith and order of the Communion, defined in the first three sections of the proposed Covenant.

Having said this traditionalists should be most careful that they don’t sound like conspiracy theorists or a sort of Anglican tea party. Over and over in the past forty years traditionalists have lost the sympathy of others by their unwillingness to temper their voices or their plans. Chicken Little isn’t a Gospel evangelist.