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Manhunt for Boston bombers
April 20th, 2013
05:14 PM ET

My Take: Reconsidering a sermon amid SWAT teams

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) — The day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Belief Blog published my thoughts on what it meant to be a Bostonian and person of faith in the aftermath of such horrific violence. I described what I planned to preach to my congregation Sunday, that even in the face of darkness and evil, light will prevail.

That was before the manhunt in Watertown, where my husband and I have lived for three years. In the dark of night, I woke up to banging noises and sirens followed by phone calls to stay inside.

From approximately 5 a.m. onward, we heard horns or helicopters every couple of minutes. We questioned our own safety, and when we peeked through the blinds outside, it looked like all our neighbors had deserted the town, though we knew they were holed up in their apartments, too.

At 6 a.m. we began scheming about exit strategies, should a quick exit from our apartment be needed:

Was the glass in our apartment building bulletproof? (No.)

Where could we hide if things got violent outside? (The bathroom.)

If absolutely necessary, what were the chances that we'd hurt ourselves if we jumped out the window? (High. We live on an upper floor.)

As the morning progressed, law enforcement officials moved closer and closer to our apartment. I began to reconsider the message of my sermon as SWAT teams swooped in and more sirens sounded.

Living the quest for justice and light (albeit in a passive way) was terrifying, another extension of the darkness, even though I knew that hundreds of law enforcement officials were doing their best to capture bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev.

Around 3 p.m. I wondered if the outdoor ban would end by Sunday, or if the other priest in my church would have to deliver the sermon for me.

Around 4 p.m. I began to wonder if we had enough food in our apartment should we be quarantined through the weekend.

Then night fell again. Law enforcement officials found Dzhokar Tsarnaev in a grounded boat. My husband and I joined other Watertown residents as they took to the streets, creating an impromptu parade to applaud local police, bomb squad teams, FBI agents and state troopers. In the darkness, we stepped outside into warm and clammy air and cheered for every lit police car we saw.

Yet as I clapped my hands and hollered, my mind's eye flashed to the deceased MIT police officer, to the man who lifted the white tarp on his boat to find a pool of blood, to the nurses and doctors who had the responsibility of healing the suspect's body, to the young children in Watertown who may have seen fear flash through their parents' eyes for the first time.

I can only guess how overwhelming the day must have been for law enforcement officials who weren't given the luxury of showing their fear, how terrifying it must have been for their families. And then there were the people from the marathon bombings who lost their legs and the three victims who lost their lives.

Standing in the cheering crowd of Watertown, I wondered: Is this the light I believe in? The light I will preach about on Sunday?

That law enforcement officials captured the suspect as efficiently as they did is an enormous triumph, and that an entire community could unite to help make it possible is a testimony to the solidarity and goodness of the human spirit. But I cannot forget that even as some of us cheered for justice, others went to bed traumatized, devastated, very much feeling the weight of darkness upon them.

So, I cannot help but wonder whether there is any light or justice that emerges from evil that is worth their suffering. It makes me wonder about the power of the light and hope that define Christianity, because even if Friday was a sign that light can prevail, it felt more like seeing a sliver of the sun radiating behind the moon during a solar eclipse, more like seeing police lights rotate in the darkness. Such light, such hope, may illuminate the scene a little, but so much still remains invisible, mysterious and unknown.

My sermon will be different on Sunday morning because of what I experienced in Watertown.

Yes, I still believe in the power of light to triumph over dark, perhaps even more so than I did earlier this week. But I also believe that light, at least for now, comes with a price tag. It is even harder won than I believed. But it is worth the fight, and when we see even a glimmer of it, it is worth taking to the streets to applaud and shout as long and loudly as our lungs will allow.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Science

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

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

    April 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Science

      Update :

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

      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

      May 8, 2013 at 7:47 am |
  2. Trance

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxk9TvyJrs&w=640&h=390]

    April 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  3. His panic

    I can see that there's still a lot of people in a state of Panic. Then if a hispanic person walks by, these people will start blaming her/him for the self inflicted attacks of Panic. Those who put their Faith and trust in God and in Christ Jesus, God's only Son will not Panic. Besides that, you all know that guy in Iran Mammon Ahamnidejab, well I'm his Panic.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Congratulations on continuing your run on not making any sense. You are a credit to your religion.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • His panic

      Also, she would not be suffering from that mild attack of hysteria if she would've placed her faith and trust in Jesus God's Son. You all know that other guy in NK, yes Kim Jungle Jim, well I'm his Panic!

      April 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • His panic

      @hawaiiguest,

      You are a credit to the State of Hawaii! Are you Mammon Ahmanidejab or Kim Jungle Jim?

      April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yes yes. Keep showing your irrational stupidity.

      April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  4. Have a Great Life

    File under: Damned if they did and if they didn't ( get aggressive on the neighborhood). If a bomb went off and killed scores or if a killer held a family hostage, the rant would be "Why didn't they take it more seriously???"

    April 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  5. Douglas

    Seek the real truth at http://www.gaychristian101.com
    Then to find your life partner seek them here at gaychristianmingle.com

    Amen!

    April 23, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Science

      The truth doogie is below you know that by now don't you ?

      Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

      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 ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

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

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      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

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

      Holy Hallucinations 35

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=390]

      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

      Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

      Human Evolution

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

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

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUliLKSJ4bQ&w=640&h=390]

      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 |

      Cheech & Chong's History of 420

      http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/3b1508d1f0/cheech-chong-s-history-of-420?rel=player&playlist=341944

      All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

      The fact...............the earth is to old ...........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

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      Education works for children

      Earth From Space

      Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

      Program Description

      "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html

      February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |

      Peace

      May 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  6. His panic

    I think she is suffering from a mild case of hysteria. As long as it does not turns into full fledged Panic there is hope.

    April 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  7. Brother Maynard

    From the article
    "It makes me wonder about the power of the light and hope that define Christianity, because even if Friday was a sign that light can prevail, it felt more like seeing a sliver of the sun radiating behind the moon during a solar eclipse, more like seeing police lights rotate in the darkness. Such light, such hope, may illuminate the scene a little, but so much still remains invisible, mysterious and unknown."

    I'm sorry but that is the 'light' you are going to get. The light of reality, the light of men and women standing up for justice. Your xtian god shead no light what so ever on this. The people of Boston are the light. God is void.
    Congratulations to Miss Tumminio,she has taken a step to reality and atheism by questioning the effectivness of the omniscient omnibenevolent god.

    April 22, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Does she have to be an Atheist to say something insightful? Watch out for your own extremist thinking. Anglicanism is about balance. It is not an Atheist thing to rationalise!

      April 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.