The latest phase of the Seabury story is playing out now. The seminary will shortly release an announcement that they’re terminating the contracts of the entire faculty (though they expect to be able to continue operating a doctoral program in preaching and congregational development).
I find this announcement baffling, but perhaps the days to come will make it clearer.
OK, granted that the Board submits that Seabury isn’t closing, it’s just firing all the faculty and most of the staff, and not admitting a new class of students, Margaret and Pippa and I are relieving our stress by substituting the word “seminary” for the word “parrot” in the Monty Python “Dead Parrot Sketch.”
Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,… it’s resting.
Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead seminary when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.
Owner: No no it’s not dead, it’s, it’s restin’! Remarkable seminary, the Anglican, idn’it, ay? Beautiful vestments!
Mr. Praline: The vestments don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.
Owner: Nononono, no, no! It’s resting!
Mr. Praline: All right then, if it’s restin’, I’ll wake it up! (shouting at the cage) ‘Ello, Reverend Seabury Western! I’ve got a lovely fresh entering class for you if you show…
(owner hits the cage)
Owner: There, he moved!
Mr. Praline: No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the cage!
Owner: I never!!
Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!
Owner: I never, never did anything…
Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) ‘ello Seabury!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!
(Takes professor out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter.
Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
Mr. Praline: Now that’s what I call a dead seminary.
Owner: No, no…..No, It’s stunned!
Mr. Praline: Stunned?!?
Owner: Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was wakin’ up! Anglicans stun easily, major.
Mr. Praline: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That seminary is definitely deceased, and when I was admitted not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged litany.
Owner: Well, it’s…it’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.
Mr. Praline: Pinin’ for the fjords?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?
Owner: The Anglican seminary prefers kippin’ on its back! Remarkable school, id’nit, squire? Lovely vestments!
Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that seminary when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there.
Owner: Well, o’course it was nailed there! If I hadn’t nailed that seminary down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent ’em apart with its processional cross, and voom! Feeweeweewee!
Mr. Praline: “Voom“?!? Mate, this seminary wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! It’s bleedin’ demised!
Owner: No no! It’s pining!
Mr. Praline: It’s not pinin‘! It’s passed on! This seminary is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the sedilia it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! This is an ex-seminary!!
14 comments / Add your comment below
Oh, I needed that.
Yes, I suppose that an administration alone can keep a seminary going.
Oh, and by all means, let’s celebrate the 150th anniversary of our institution as if nothing’s wrong.
I am stunned and heart-broken for you and your excellent family. My prayer is that Gd will soon reveal and provide what comes next.
Oh my gosh I needed that too! Thank you for brightening up an otherwise rather depressing evening.
Why can’t we just admit the seminary can no longer operate, close it down and allow us all to properly grieve?
It’s the dishonesty and the refusal to admit what’s really going on that really galls me and embarrasses me as an alum.
I’m laughing, which is keeping away the tears. The rest of us in theological education ought to be paying attention!
Brilliant send up, AKMA. After all the smoke-blowin’ in the press releases and the Anglican Advance article, that was refreshing. I am sad, however, for all those who find themselves in the seminary job market at this point.
Thanks, David and all. Yes, the unclueful PR jive in the whole endeavor, especially the evasive responses in the Q-and-A section, are pretty painful.
Have you ever noticed how very much James Lloyd Breck resembles John Cleese?
Thank you, Tobias, that picture’s been bothering me for nine years. Still, there’s something missing from the equation; is it a specific Cleese role, or is there another comic actor whom he resembles?
Well, the costume rather suggests the Spanish Inquisition, but then, no one suggests the Spanish Inquisition…