I call myself a progressive pastor. Others call me a heretic, left winger, libtard and so on. I really don’t know what label fits but I’m definitely a heretic. I do know what I believe in. Today anyways. I believe in Community and that we do better best helping each other. That make’s me a Communist to some and a Christian to others.
I believe helping each other become the best version of ourselves is what Jesus would want. I believe in doing what we love, and not just pursuing happiness, but helping each other actually attain it.
I want to live in a society of contented neighbors, who care about each other and cheer each other on in life. I want to live a life with gratitude for what I have and generosity to those that have less. I believe Jesus taught us to share, like good parents and teachers did when I was a kid. You look out for others, I am my brothers and sisters keeper as Jesus taught! You split a sandwich with a hungry kid at recess. You share toys in the sandbox, you help the kid next to you with math if you “got it” but they don’t! You stop and care for someone who crashes on the playground. You don’t just walk by.
So yeah I believe Jesus taught us to care for one another. So let’s get practical. For me a thoughtful healthcare “plan” that helps people stay well, get well, and doesn’t financially destroy them if they get sick is something that lines up with my faith. Especially in the richest country on the planet. Whatever you want to call it, get it done! Socialized, Universal, Free Market, Tiered (meaning some can afford better but no one will have none). We do this best by pooling our resources proportionately to what we have.
That’s actually a pretty great New Testament concept. Look it up. I was taught that was the minimum we do by my agnostic father however. It’s not rocket science to be a good person and we don’t need a 2000 year old book to tell us how to do it. We all can help create a happier society for everyone, whatever our beliefs by loving one another in our actions.
I believe the same about education. People make better choices and lead better lives if they’re educated. This isn’t just “core subjects” but also life guidance. I enjoyed my public schools. I liked playing sports, being part of a team. I loved learning things, and again not just math and science but wood-shop, art, band, drama, metal shop, home economics (where we literally learned how to cook, bank, sew, type). Education gives us freedom. It creates healthy thinking.
So to do these things we pay taxes. By the way Jesus said to shut up and pay your taxes. I believe paying my fair share of taxes feels really good! I want to contribute to to our common good. I like having Fire Departments (hell Station 22 down the street saved my life the other night, got me to the hospital in minutes because Kath called 911). I like paved roads, highways, public schools, parks and libraries.
“Fair” is a great word. I don’t like paying taxes when it’s not fair. It’s all I want. I don’t believe in free loaders, theft, mooches, lazy thieves, greed, loopholes, cheats, offshore accounts, tax shelters, corporations profiting billions but not contributing to the welfare of our country. Either does the Bible endorse that. Look it up.
I believe in a very strong military deterrent. I’m 98% pacifist and 2% will bury you if you intend evil. “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Jesus could be very passive. He also brutalized the rich, hypocrite and crooked politician. He also made a whip. The current wasteful, socialized military industrial complex Eisenhower warned about, is straight up sinful. It spends more hard earned tax payer dollars on defense, than the next 10 Super Power Nations behind us, COMBINED!! The US Military is the best example of out of control wasteful socialism on the planet. Yet so many support it, but don’t support mutual healthcare. What??
I believe in a livable wage, and yes if you’re flipping hamburgers 8 hrs a day serving people in a fast food restaurant owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation, you should make a wage where you can pay rent and feed yourself. It’s hard fucking work, I’ve done it. The Bible talks alot about that. About fair wages, a days wages, which was a living wage. These are not lazy people trying to milk the welfare system. These are hard working Americans that I respect greatly! I’m not talking about people buying mansions, yachts or driving a Porsche because they work at Walmart. Those are the overplayed corporate elite doing that. I’m talking about simply living. Paying rent. Food on the table. That’s the Christian thing to do.
I also believe in religious freedom, the right to believe and practice as you wish! So did Jesus. He praised a Roman Soldier for having the greatest faith he found in all Israel. He used the despised Samaritan as the iconic example of true love and compassion. Many of the biggest assholes I know call themself Christians and some of the best people I know are atheists. So I believe in the Separation of Church and State! “Render into Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what belongs to God.” It’s a very good idea the US has.
The Church should have no special legal standing from the government than any other for profit business! Now if it is “actually” a NON-PROFIT 501c3, then I support the government helping non-profits help others! That’s not religious! I don’t believe in prayer in schools. The thought of that makes me sick. Don’t tell me when or how to pray. That doesn’t mean any kid is prohibited from praying before a test to Allah, Krishna, Buddha, G-d, Jesus or the Man in the moon! God knows I did every time!
Practice your faith, but DO NOT impose it on anyone else. Jesus never did. I believe there are basic “human rights” we all share and Jesus demonstrated. If you’re a human: male, female, hermaphrodite, gay, lesbian, trans, bi-sexual, queer, heterosexual, simply not sure, black, white, brown, young, old, rich, poor, as a human you all have equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Equality is what I’m talking about! Its how Jesus lived. Its what Jesus died for. It’s what the New Testament declares.
I believe in “secure” borders as a nation, and the “legal” process of immigration. As a Jesus follower I believe people attempting to come here “illegally” should be humanely treated. Not traumatized, caged, abused, families separated. That is not “loving your neighbor like yourself.” They don’t need more of the trauma they’re trying to escape from. I believe they deserve compassion and understanding even if they cannot enter. They are human beings. We need to help them. So I believe in developing good relationships with our neighbors.
Canada and Mexico should be our very best friends. We need to cooperate with them and all other nations willing too, and create methods to compassionately address the human crisis of migration caused by evil corrupt rouge nations, war, famine and now climate change.
We’re stronger together against tyranny and far more effective in bringing relief to victims working together. That’s why we have to make allies and see the world as community. I believe we need laws that make our environment, food, medications, work place, transportation, SAFE and protected. We need regulations and serious punishment for environmental destruction, fraud, greed, scams, market manipulation in business and trade.
We need to build a strong infrastructure, clean energy, that creates jobs and improves our uniform standard of living conditions in this country. All this is called “Government!” And since we started in 1776 with 2.5 million and stand at 350 million people today, it’s gonna be “BIG.” Period! But it can be limited and effective.
I believe in Democracy, free, secure, unhindered elections without foreign interference or fixing on the inside. Thats biblical righteousness! That’s not happening!!! I believe our country was founded upon a concept of freedom from tyranny! Awesome! But with that we also committed genocide, murder, human trafficking and slavery in its creation. We need to own that shit. Own that so many TODAY still benefit greatly from that grievous sin (including myself), and many others still SUFFER greatly for it.
This is a nation built by the sin of racism and white supremacy. Period. It’s a cancer that still flourishes today. It needs to cut out! Radiate it, chemo it to death. Lets do what AA suggests in their steps: Take a fearless moral inventory. Admit to ourselves, and others the exact nature of our wrongs. Be ready to remove these defects of character and shortcomings. List persons we’ve harmed, be willing to make amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure. Continue to take a personal inventory, and when we we’re wrong admit it and make it right. Sounds like Jesus teaching to me people.
I believe in law and order, and support the noble guardians of the citizenry in law enforcement. Im grateful for them. I don’t support racist, abusive, militarized, poorly trained police goons or departments that operate abusively with immunity. We need universal policing reform and accountability now. That is what I believe Jesus would be speaking out about today.
We need to stop the insane privatization for profit prison system. It is systemic human torture. So many are incarcerated for addictions and traumas that need medical help, not prison. America incarcerates more of their citizens than (“evil”)China and Russia combined, and we have 1/5 that population! This is immoral.
I believe that a “well regulated militia” should have the right to bear arms, but it does not mean every idiot wanna be Rambo gets a cache of assault weapons. Hell its far harder getting a drivers license than an assault weapon.
Whatever that all is that I believe in, is what you can label me. Christian, Heretic, Libtard, Humanitarian, Fool! But of “Fool” then add Fool for Christ.
“We are fools for Christ…” 1 Cor 4:10
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” 1 Cor 3:19
Peace to you.
— Pastor Paul Bergmann
1 thought on “I call myself a progressive pastor. Others call me a heretic, left…”
Good article, basically your statement of faith. So many good points, some of which I would have totally disagreed with at one point. Fortunately, God continues to open our eyes and teach us new things, or new ways of looking at them. Thanks for taking the time to write this out and post it. I think we are brother heretics, lol.