home
RSS
Deadly attack at Boston Marathon
April 16th, 2013
01:28 PM ET

My Take: Light will conquer darkness in Boston

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

Boston (CNN) — At 4 a.m. on Patriot’s Day, I huddled in the cold and dark on the Lexington town green that’s across from the church where I work as a priest, awaiting the reenactment of the first battle of the American Revolution.

As the sun rose, a small group of haggard colonists assembled. None were in military uniform; they seemed to have difficulty forming a straight line. And when the British marched towards them with their elegant uniforms and disciplined formation, they outnumbered the colonists more than 2-1.

It looked to be a slaughter.

As the “shot heard 'round the world” fired, the colonists scrambled, some dying in the skirmish and others retreating, running away to safety.

To the casual observer like myself, it looked like defeat — defeat of their hopes for freedom, liberty and democracy; defeat of goodness and light. But that defeat turned out to be the call that brought out reservists from all over the Boston area. Ordinary colonists left their homes to hide behind trees with their weapons, haunting the British as they marched back to Boston. The efforts of those ordinary men and women eventually led to victory for our country and the ideals it sought — and continues to seek—to embody.

Less than 12 hours after I attended the reenactment, I heard a different “shot heard 'round the world,” this time a few miles from my home where I was working. The Boston Marathon bombing shook me, as it shook many of my fellow Bostonians. It was a reminder that our world carries hazards and injustice.

An 8-year old boy dies.

Marathon runners have their legs amputated.

Since the blast, I’ve heard some people say this changes everything for Boston, for the marathon, for Americans’ sense of safety in the world. I don’t agree. Our world is scary, unstable, dark as 4 a.m. on the Lexington town green. In the collective history of humanity, it’s been a long time since there hasn’t been tragedy — a life taken too soon, a body hurt by a bomb or a gun or a crippling disease.

The Boston bombings are nothing new. They are simply one more reminder that, at some level, our world is not secure, even though, as comedian Patton Oswalt famously posted on Facebook Monday, “If it's one person or a HUNDRED people [who bombed Boston], that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.”

It creates a paradox for me as a religious leader to acknowledge the seemingly eternal presence of this darkness while I stand with the fundamental Christian tenet that light overcomes it. That paradox can test any person’s faith, rendering hope complex, messy. That paradox challenges me as I think about this Sunday morning, and what I will preach to my congregation as I stand in the pulpit of my Lexington church.

So what I will tell them is this: I will not deny the darkness. I will not deny its power. But I will remind them — and perhaps myself a little bit too — to think about tragedy the same way our forebears did. It may seem we are outnumbered in our battle against evil. It may seem we’re standing alone and haggard, outgunned like those militiamen who fought for our country’s independence 238 years ago.

Yet just as in those early battles of the Revolution, there are reservists who want the light to win.  There are ordinary people who step out into danger, into darkness, to shine a light. On the day of the marathon bombings, bystanders who could have protected themselves rushed to help the injured. Doctors, nurses, and their assistants worked overtime to make sure that those affected received the care they deserved, while law enforcement officials sought justice on the city’s behalf. Bostonians came out to offer marathoners juice and a bathroom, even as officials told them to stay indoors. A nearby restaurant called El Pelon Taqueria gave out free food, drinks, cell phone charger outlets, and the 9-year old daughter of the owner, Addison Hoben, decorated to-go bags with the words, “It’s going to be alright” and “We’re not afraid.”

Those are some of our nation’s reservists, though not all of them by far. Many of us shine light into the dark in quieter ways: by volunteering at a soup kitchen or a prison, by donating blood, by sitting in the waiting room during a friend’s surgery, by caring for an aging parent. Not for naught did the famous Mr. Rogers — who was also a Presbyterian minister — say the words that have been so often quoted in social media since the bombings: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ”

What I will tell my congregation Sunday is that I believe in the power of darkness, and I believe that humans can do horrible things. But I also believe that light will eventually outshine the dark, that the reservists among us are fighting a war to defeat violence and evil, and that one day they will permanently win it. That is what makes me a Christian, and it is also what makes me an American, the descendant of the patriots who gave their life on the Lexington battle green so many years ago.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Massachusetts • My Take • Terrorism • Violence

soundoff (715 Responses)
  1. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    This is a powerful, so interesting to me i'm a preacher this one is a message.their is hope for future their is always light at the end of the tunnel.faith heal's all kinds of sickness. with God all things are possible. come and worship today at christ foundation sabbath mission at no 10 omotayo banwo street ori oke ogudu lagos Nigeria.God said remember the sabbath day and keep it holy is the fouth commandment. as you respect the law of your land respect God the most high laws it shall be well with all of us on the surface of the Earth. shalom and God bless.

    May 18, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  2. mskaydailey61

    Reblogged this on daileytalks.

    May 6, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Science

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Science

      Update :

      See for yourself below.................The fairy in the sky did NOT create us !!!

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

      Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers ..........E = mc2..............(U-Pb) numbers do not lie !

      May 3, 2013 — Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: it's hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious trait – the ability to understand numbers – also is shared by humans and their primate cousins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130503132719.htm

      OR.........take a ride on a DINO.

      Fossil records are better to read than the nasty bible..................no god(s) required !

      Oldest? New 'Bone-Head' Dinosaur Hints at Higher Diversity of Small Dinosaurs

      May 7, 2013 — Scientists have named a new species of bone-headed dinosaur (pachycephalosaur) from Alberta, Canada. Acrotholus audeti (Ack-RHO-tho-LUS) was identified from both recently discovered and historically collected fossils. Approximately six feet long and weighing about 40 kilograms in life, the newly identified plant-eating dinosaur represents the oldest bone-headed dinosaur in North America, and possibly the world.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507124800.htm

      The Science Guy takes on creationism

      CNN|Added on November 24, 2012

      http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/11/24/intv-nye-creationism.cnn

      May 8, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  3. mason

    The author demonstrates a degree in Theology is a degree in nonsense.

    May 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  4. mason

    The reality of history shows superior technology conquers inferior technology. Just ask the native Americans of N. & S. America, the conquered of Rome and British Empire, and the tribes and towns plundered by Genghis Khan. Light, dark, is just fantasy.

    May 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  5. cmx

    Islam Jesus
    Ok, I added what was missing.........
    Darkness and light.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  6. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments
    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Peace

    May 4, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  7. Anna

    May 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  8. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..........splat goes a fairy in the sky !

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    May 3, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  9. K Moore

    Battles in 1700's were against a clearly defined enemy that marched into a battle and intended to fight against soldiers. Not true here. It is vastly different now. This enemy is a lot more like the Indians.

    May 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • trollintraining

      The Indians didn't want that war. They fought back however they could. Did you really mean to draw parallels to what is going on today?
      If so, that would mke the terrorist the victoms of our foreign policy, and offer a justification for their style of fighting.

      May 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • timothy

      Points well made. Unconventional warfare has always been waged by the party less likely and able to take on the larger, stronger party. British lined up in open, we hid behind stonewalls. As to which party is right or wrong??? That is the perception of the individual. I would imagine both sides could claim defense of their way of life, both could say they only do what they do to defend themselves from the other and each will claim the other is the bad guy and the way the other fights is cowardly- they use bomber vests, we use unmanned drones- one willing to give their lives the other not. One claims to seek only bad guys and kills innocents by accident , the other targets civilians only and I am not sure which side does the largest damage as a percentage of population. Humans war and they do it in many different ways. Unless one is a visitor from another world, I doubt there would be objectivity in who is bad and who is not. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of someone with no skin in Earth or the turnout of a conflict but if they thought like us here in the states, they would favor the underdog.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  10. dennis

    Hebrews 1:1 KJV
    God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
    2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith , And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith , Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish ; but thou remainest ; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up , and they shall be changed : but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail . 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

    May 1, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • Science

      Dennis ................follow link cool science !

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/29/new-film-examines-science-vs-religion/#comments

      May 1, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Science

      Chomp Chomp...................in spanish..............education for adults too !

      (EA) FÓSILES, FOSILIZACIÓN Y PALEONTOLOGÍA.

      May 2, 2013 at 6:30 am |
  11. dennis

    Revelation 1:1 KJV
    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    May 1, 2013 at 5:59 am |
  12. dennis

    John 10:10 KJV
    The thief cometh not, but for to steal , and to kill , and to destroy : I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

    May 1, 2013 at 5:58 am |
  13. dennis

    Romans 1:20 KJV
    For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen , being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    May 1, 2013 at 5:56 am |
  14. dennis

    John 3:19 KJV
    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved . 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest , that they are wrought in God.

    May 1, 2013 at 5:53 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.