In Memoriam: Gordon Cosby
by Brian D. McLaren
My friend Becca Stelle sent this news today:
It is with great joy, as well as sadness, that we convey to you the word that at 4:15 this morning–on the first day of spring–our beloved brother in Christ, Gordon Cosby, quietly slipped into the fullness of God’s Realm. Mary was sleeping beside him and continues to be a pillar of spiritual strength.
Our hearts are full.
This evening those of us who are able and wish to do so are welcome to drop by the Potter’s House–just to share love with each other and to thank God for giving us such a one as Gordon. An informal time of sharing will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The actual memorial service will be held sometime after Easter…
Gordon’s influence on my life was indirect, but strong. I only met him a handful of times, the most meaningful being an afternoon spent chatting with him at the Potter’s House ten or so years ago. But Gordon and Church of the Savior had a profound influence on my friend Bill Duncan, who with his wife Shobha were the co-founders of Cedar Ridge Community Church, where I was privileged to serve as a pastor and grow as a member for many years. Bill and Shobha, through their friendship and partnership, have been so formative in my life and work.
It has often been said that Church of the Savior was the original “Emerging Church.” In fact, COS has modeled ongoing, continual emergence. The last time I was with Gordon, he shared something to this effect (all who knew him will recognize this kind of reflection from Gordon): “We’ve been at this for decades now, but I still feel that we’ve just begun to re-imagine what the church can be. We have so much more to learn. We have made so many mistakes. We have only taken the first few stops on this journey.”
When many were bragging over a life of accomplishments, Gordon was still humble, still unsatisfied, still peering forward, still curious, still feeling like a beginner. When many were obsessed with size, he was obsessed with essence. Of his many great gifts to us was his lifelong desire to integrate inward and outward journeys … discipleship and mission … contemplation and action … spirituality and social justice. He lived it in one neighborhood – but modeled it for people around the world. His life is a small stone of Christ-like vision, thrown quietly into the twentieth century, whose ripples will spread for generations to come.