Hi, I’m Rich Lang. In college I had the pleasure of pursuing an undergraduate academic degree in philosophy and literature, and these two disciplines have continued to hold my interest throughout my adult life. After college I spend four years pursuing a graduate degree in theological education. How all this came about is a story too long to tell.
After seminary I spent my adult years working in parish ministry with an emphasis on youth, college students, single adults, family ministry and pastoral care. Eventually I transitioned to campus ministry in higher education, first at Whitman College and later at Southern Oregon University.
Along the way I become increasingly drawn to religious studies and interfaith dialogue. From there I realized that my range of intellectual interests and existential concerns encompassed far more than religious studies. It increasingly expanded to encompass interdisciplinary studies in the liberal arts, including studies in philosophy, history, literature, arts and sciences.
At the same time my “worldview” continued to shift from Christian theism to reverent agnosticism or spiritual humanism, from theology and religion to anthropology and psychology, from any Grand Theory of Everything to Keats “Negative Capability” and Rilke’s injunction to “Live the Questions.” I resonate with the Richard Rorty’s poetic chestnut: “Cultures with richer vocabularies are more fully human — farther removed from the beasts — than those with poorer ones.”
I’m aware that many thinking people around the world identify variously with the divergent worldviews of idealism, materialism, dualism and panpsychism. I am more interested in the pragmatic question of what are the practical consequences of these various worldviews for the personal and social dimensions of reality than in deciding which of them, if any, may be metaphysically “right and true.” I’m convinced that we humans sometimes ask some questions that transcend our limited sensory, rational and epistemological capacities, and that one can have a passion for knowledge while respecting the limits of man’s comprehension.
While working in campus ministry at SOU I taught adjunct courses in comparative religions. I also taught seminars at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OSHER) associated with Southern Oregon University. Seminars have included The Quest for the Universal Human, The Rebirth of the Conversational Salon, Values for Living, The Good Life of Human Flourishing, the Wisdom of the Liberal Arts, Six Ways We See the World, and Six Dialogues with the World.
Since 2011 I’ve enjoyed “the good life” in retirement, occupying my leisure with voracious reading, blog writing, music appreciation (especially classical) and film criticism, among many other interests.
I enjoy exploring the big questions of life and inviting others to participate in “the great conversation.”