Friday News Roundup: And if you’re on the right side of the plane, you can see the Grand Canyon

istock_000003001750xsmallSometimes, the weeks’ news organizes itself neatly around a particular theme or current event.  It not only makes it easier to put these roundups together, it also provides some space for analysis and commentary.

This week?  Not so much.  There’s some interesting stuff out there but it’s all over the map, so prepare for the tour.
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Great, you have a blog. So what?

Here at Tanenbaum we’ve got our fingers in a lot of pots.  We’re entrepreneurial, committed to our work and above all, busy.  So why are we adding to our workload with this blog?  Don’t we have enough to do?

That’s not a rhetorical question: we don’t.  Unless we’re reaching out, trying to engage you in our passion and our work, we’re not doing our jobs.  And that’s why Moving Beyond Differences is so important.

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Friday News Roundup: Making Sense of the Data

istock_000003001750xsmallThere are multiple studies issued in medical journals every year showing that – depending on which you read –  going to church either reduces or increases mortality, that prayer speeds healing, that prayer has no effect on healing, that people who self-identify as religious are less stressed.  Point being, there are lots of studies from lots of angles and no definitive answers.

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When Work is Play

Yesterday was one of those magical days, when life and work are totally integrated. Heather and I had lunch with the Chair of our Religion and Conflict Resolution Program Advisory Council, Marc Gopin. As usual, the conversation was everywhere. I was startled to see Marc without his beard, because he looked so much like my cousin Peter. Marc said it was probably a similar gene pool and, sure enough, it turned out that our ancestors are from the same region!
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Examining the “Conscience Rule”

So what was George W. Bush doing during the last few weeks of his presidency? While the national spotlight was firmly fixed on President-elect Obama’s minute-by-minute movements – assembling a team, dealing with the crumbing economy, selecting the “first puppy” – it was Bush who still occupied the office.  And one of the last things he did was push through a piece of legislation referred to as the “conscience rule,” which took effect mere hours before Obama’s first day as President. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday News Roundup: Whence religion?

istock_000003001750xsmallWe’ve known for a while that the U.S. is more religious than most of our European counterparts – even though a lot of European nations still have national churches (like Sweden – Lutheran) or strong ties to religious bodies (like Italy).   But the U.S., even with separation of church and state as a founding principle, continues to be one of the world’s most religious countries, with 80-90% of people…

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Time-tested Wisdom

“The beginning of wisdom is humility,” said Dr. Ephraim Isaac at a lecture last week, followed by “the arrogance of educated people has to stop.” With three degrees, including a doctorate from Harvard, this Tanenbaum Peacemaker from Ethiopia is hardly an uneducated man himself. Yet, he has spent countless hours listening to the ideas and concerns of what he calls “ordinary people.”

For Ephraim, famous for rejuvenating his country’s tradition of eldership, this has a point: Ordinary Ethiopians – ordinary people everywhere – are essential to the transformation of conflicts and social problems. They, especially the elders among them, must be included in local and national efforts for change. And the Western educated, whether African or from the U.S. or Europe, should not forget or ignore these sources of wisdom.    

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