About the Author
By training I am not a theologian but a music therapist working with people who are terminally ill in a New York City hospice. As in all of life, but especially in hospice, a healthy spiritual perspective is crucial. I have been searching all my life for a good spiritual approach that truly speaks to the problems of today without trying to minimize them, escape them, or define them in such a way that they only seem to cease being problems. In short, I have been searching for a spiritual approach that is true to human experience.
It seemed to me that over the years traditional religions have become stagnant, offering old and tired answers to pressing new problems. At the same time, modern “New Age” or metaphysical spiritualities have missed the mark by acting as though evil didn’t exist, dismissing as “illusions” the things that affect us most deeply, as if we didn't really need to be concerned about them. None of these approaches satisfied me.
Very gradually I came to the conviction that a way out of this puzzling and frustrating situation exists somewhere in the interface between Judaism and Christianity. Each of these two great religions of the West has a big piece of the truth, but I believe the picture becomes complete only when one views the two traditions together. Seeing the continuity that connects them, the full picture gradually reveals itself. Taken together, they disclose a picture of God’s active involvement in human life that is conspicuously absent in the Eastern religions. That is why I gravitate to this approach.
I believe that while the Eastern traditions are based largely on self-perfection (the “Eightfold Path” of Buddhism consists of attaining enlightenment solely through one's own efforts), Judeochristianity shows that God can be and is still very much active in one’s individual journey and redemption, in a way that is not apparent when either Judaism or Christianity is considered in isolation. This approach depends neither on dogma nor theology, but rather on an “existential” (i.e., true to human experience) viewpoint regarding just what these traditions are, what they say, and how they fit together.
There are really no new truths presented here, but old truths expressed in a new way. They are old but living truths, the truths originally intended by the Judeochristian prophetic tradition, before they became encrusted under layers of doctrine. And so they have a transforming power that self-contained belief systems frozen in time cannot hope to reach. However, there is no “one size fits all” spirituality. Readers will have to judge for themselves how useful these ideas can be. I only present them for the reader's consideration, with the personal observation that they have helped me far beyond any other spiritual or religious system that I have studied.
And so I acknowledge my deep debt both to Judaism and to Christianity. It is my hope that this approach will help bring Jews and Christians together, to make clear that we have far more in common than what sets us apart. Jews can study this approach and remain Jews, and Christians can remain Christians. I make no claims, demands, or requests on anyone’s system of belief. This approach is compatible with both traditional Judaism and Christianity. My only wish is that Jews and Christians may see the bridge that connects their traditions, and will feel free to cross the bridge when the need arises. I also believe that at this particular time in our history the need is greater than ever.
Those who would like to share their ideas or questions about this site may contact me at carlos[at]judeochristianity.org.
May God bless all of you who have found your way to my house.
Charles “Carlos” Gourgey