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Triadic Tales - The Failed Cleric - Short Story (Part Three)

There were times afterward when Adam thought he had dreamed the whole Enid thing. But eventually things became clear. Jim returned to the city in  a few years, minus jeans and black t-shirt. He repeated the events of Tamara's death. 

Tamara died after crying to the sky. Adam remained overnight. He slept on the reclined seat of his dusty, duct-taped Plymouth Champ. Next day, they buried Tamara a few paces from where the fire was. Jim was oddly calm through the whole thing. When Adam asked questions, he offered no answers. Adam left with no sense he would ever see Jim any more.

"Do you remember how our friendship started," Jim said. They were now on the same bench they sat on five years earlier. 

"Failed clerics, remember?" 

Jim pulled from his knapsack a folded sheet with writing in ink on one side. He gave it to Adam.

"Read," he said. 

Adam read aloud: 

"I chose to die as I did. To choose one's death is a right. 

"Jesus did not love children because they were little and cute. He loved them because they are wise. Jesus despises this world we have made. 

"You are both right to have quit and have done with steeples. Jesus cares about filling stomachs that are empty and distended. Jesus cares about dismantling the armature of destruction and the stratagems of harm. 

"When you loved me at that futile group-think retreat, with its underlying violence, I loved you back. And I will love you when I am no longer me. In fact, I  will soon be in everything. Not deleted, saved. Not entropied, syntropied. 

"When we die, we are not locked in our times and forms. We morph freely, merrily, as in the fabled dream of nursery song. 

"Good bye, my Jim ,whose dolce far niente is more pleasing than a thousand theological tomes. We need more failed clerics who know all is fallible, all mystery. And celebrate those magic times when love blooms as a rose.

"The crying you will hear is not terror nor agony but release.

"I love you always. 


The two failed clerics sat there silently. They held hands.  Adam saw a tear course down Jim's Beckett face.

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…