On the bus ride to work this morning, I was listening to the podcast of a sermon given by Rob Bell, in which he quoted Cornel West, a Princeton University religion professor. When asked in an interview by Rolling Stone magazine if he was optimistic about the future, West replied:
The categories of optimism and pessimism do not exist for me. I am a prisoner of hope. I am going to die full of hope.
Wow. That’s the kind of hope I’d like.
I do so wish that I could get my hands on a copy of the sermon given by guest preacher DeNeice Welch at my church a few weeks back. West’s sentiment was at the core of Welch’s – hers delivered with an almost painful acceptance that she will get up everyday with that hope, and with the sure chance of being blown back down. But that that hope stays alive.
Wow. There’s something about his notion of hope that feels like it transcends optimism and pessimism–as if they are mundane and cerebral ideas. It seems to me what he may be talking about is something deeper that comes from the heart. Having that kind of hope seems to imply that he’s living an inspired life. I wish I could say it were true of my life. I have a friend who is a professor in his department at Princeton. From what my friend has said, he sounds like a seriously inspired dude.