Monday, January 24, 2011

West, Colbert, and a Fresh Perspective on Love

I ran across this video of an interview with Cornel West by Stephen Colbert.  I don't watch very much Colbert, and I've only heard of Cornel West.  After watching this, I'm inclined to learn a little more about Dr. West.  The clip is well worth the watch, and just under seven minutes long.  I've paraphrased some of my favorite quotes below.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Cornel West
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West says I don't want social engineering, I want social justice.  Social justice is allowing for the love to flow so that poor people have the same dignity as investment bankers.
-How many people vilify the poor who live off the government but somehow think it's ok to bailout failed businesses.  What is the difference in a beggar who chooses to make a living off of handouts and an unscrupulous businessman/woman who chooses to make a living by exploiting others.  It seems that one is honest about his or her intentions while the other succeeds in wearing a veneer of respectability.

Colbert summarizes a point of West's book, Hope on a Tightrope saying "I hope things will get better, but I have no proof.  Optimism is evidence-based."
-This is a beautiful description of hope and how it leads us to strive to make things better.  Too much optimism leads to complacency-- hope drives us to action.

I'm a militant for tenderness.  Justice is what love looks like in public, just like tenderness is what it looks like in private.  Love is a steadfast commitment to the well-being of others.
-We've bought the lie about love.  We've grown to think love is something self-serving and self-gratifying.  We love because of what we get out of it and when we stop getting, we fall out of love.  We think love is a feeling and forget that it is wrapped up in expression.  No wonder we're left empty when the feeling is forgotten.  Without the expression, the feeling has no power.  We've forgotten what love is.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
 1 Corinthians 13
 I don't know what kind of a person Cornel West is, but in seven minutes he's made an impression that will last.  May he find the path of God's blessing and spread the message of love to the world.

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