What we need for real conversation about religion

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

It was a more innocent day when I ran the Boston Marathon on April 20, 1998. The biggest security issue back then was dealing with the “bandits” who would run the race without qualifying, without registering, and without paying the entrance fee. They would not get a medal at the finish line and their time was not officially counted, but every year a few thousand bandits would sneak in to run the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton, Mass., into downtown Boston.

Running and training for marathons has also been a diversion for me from the stresses and worries of everyday life. Whether training with friends or running alone with my thoughts or while praying Hail Marys on my finger rosary, the experience of long-distance running would always transport me far away not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

All of that was shaken profoundly last month on April 15 with the jihadist bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Although I officially qualified and ran the Boston Marathon just once, over the years I have run stretches of the course with my friends who live in Boston. I have also watched the Boston Marathon as a spectator several times, most recently two years ago.