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Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Faith
  • Language:English
  • Pages:224
  • eBook ISBN:9798350919486
  • Paperback ISBN:9781591948018

What I Believe

22 Personal Essays

by John Langan

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What steers our direction in life? What core values drive our decisions? In twenty-two revealing personal essays, a wide range of people describe how each of them arrived at the philosophy of life that guides the steps they take.
The twenty-two essays in WHAT I BELIEVE reflect personal responses to the following prompt: "Many people, often when they become aware of their own mortality, develop a belief system that helps them understand their purpose in the world. In an essay, describe your personal philosophy of life. The essay should detail the key influences and experiences that helped form your own special faith, values, or purpose in life." The essays are as varied as the twenty-two writers themselves. For some essayists, a traditional belief system--Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist--serves as a starting point for defining meaningful life values. Several others find purposeful living in an elemental humanism akin to a statement made by the poet W.H. Auden: "We are here to help others." One writer is playful skeptical about a larger purpose in life, while another unabashedly celebrates atheism. A third finds meaning in pursuing the democratic ideals on which his country was founded. For all their differences, each writer makes an honest attempt to arrive at an understanding of how best to live life here on this mysterious planet. Each writer declares, "Here is a life philosophy, a personal statement of belief, that has shaped and guided me."
About the author
In college and beyond, John Langan supported himself by working a variety of low-income jobs. He was an apple packer, a battery assembler, a hospital attendant, a truck driver, and a machinist--experiences, he argues, as valuable as the two master's degrees he later earned. When he started teaching at Atlantic Cape Community College, New Jersey, his reading and writing skill classes were filled with students with whom he immediately identified; they often worked in the same kinds of in-the-trenches jobs he had earlier. To help his blue-collar workers develop the skills they needed to thrive professionally and personally, he began creating his own down-to-earth teaching materials and eventually published five widely-successful writing and reading texts with the McGraw Hill book company. After gaining some publishing know-how, he started his own educational publishing company, Townsend Press, and has sold millions of skills book noted for their moderate prices, clarity of instruction, and friendly tone. He also makes available the nonprofit "Townsend Library"--a paperback collection of over one hundred new and classic stories that appeal to a wide range of readers. And during the last twenty-five years, through his Townsend Foundation, scholarships have been awarded to hundreds of thousands of students from low-income backgrounds.