Gordon Cosby, the founder and pastor of Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C., was interviewed by Jim Wallis at Cosby's office in March 1986. Through involvement with various inner-city ministries, including Jubilee Housing and Columbia Road Health Services, Cosby and the Church of the Saviour have pioneered a model of Christian spirituality, church renewal, and ministry that works to balance the inward, personal journey with the outward, activist journey. Christians in congregations across the country have benefited from their witness and experiences. - The Editors
Jim Wallis: Your ministry and the Church of the Saviour are often associated with spirituality - the spirituality of ministry and the spirituality of community. But the word "spirituality" is sometimes difficult to understand. I think there is a tremendous hunger, and at the same time a lot of confusion, about spirituality. Based on your life and your experience with the Church of the Saviour, what do you mean by spirituality?
Gordon Cosby: I think the image of spirituality that's best is one of intimacy in a relationship with Jesus. Jesus talked about his abiding in the Father and the Father abiding in him; he didn't do anything his Father/Mother didn't tell him to do or say anything God didn't tell him to say.
It appears to me that Jesus promises us the same sort of intimate relationship with him that he himself enjoyed with God. His own life was based on that intimacy, and he promises that the basis of our life can also be that intimacy. The relationship he has promised us - and the freedom that results from it - are, to me, the heart of spirituality.
How does prayer relate to spirituality and intimacy with God?
Prayer is this intimacy. Prayer is the sharing, the dialogue, the openness to God.