"I'm done with religion [and] stupid rules, that somebody other than Jesus thought up for my own good."
Pastor Jim Burgen had no idea that his statement — just a snippet from a now-viral sermon he delivered June 1 — would end up reaching far beyond the walls of the Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colorado.
Burgen also touched upon alcohol and medicinal marijuana in the sermon, decrying man-made rules and regulations that he says some Christians incorrectly claim have come directly from God — comments he recently expounded upon in a recent interview with TheBlaze.
[sharequote align="center"]"I'm done with religion, stupid rules, that somebody other than Jesus thought up for my own good." [/sharequote]
"I grew up in a church community. I was told I was a bad Christian if I had a beer," he said. "I know there's different franchises around the country [that say] if you drink beer you don't love Jesus. And I bought that for a long time."
But today Burgen, who said in his now viral clip that he doesn't oppose drinking alcohol or using medicinal marijuana, has very different views. Despite his belief that having a drink isn't un-Christian, he also believes that the Bible makes it clear that intoxication isn't right.
Perhaps his views on rules and regulations in Christianity are best summarized in comments made at the end of the viral sermon: "Come and see Jesus, he'll tell me how to live my life, he's enough, screw the rest."
Watch Burgen's viral views below:
His tone and language certainly differentiate him from other pastors, as he's willing to tackle some controversial subject matter with with an approach not typically seem among conservative preachers.
His tactics may be paying off, too, as he's attracting 16,000 parishioners to Flatirons Community Church every weekend. Despite the large congregation, though, he knows his church isn't for everyone.
"I hate the term megachurch," Burgen told TheBlaze. "We don't claim to be a church for everybody. Listen, if you want a more conservative methodology, there are great churches all over Colorado."
But methodology and theology are two very different things, Burgen argued, noting that he holds traditional, Bible-based views. Rather than correcting peoples' language and "sweating some of the minor stuff," he said that he focuses on simply "pointing people toward Jesus."
[sharequote align="center"]"Come and see Jesus, he'll tell me how to live my life, he's enough, screw the rest."[/sharequote]
And rather than shunning members for their behavior, Burgen said he makes an effort to remain open and act like Christ.
"[One of the] most common things that Jesus was accused of -- 'Why do you eat with people like that?'" he said, noting that he doesn't shun people simply because of their sin. "I always want to be accused of the same thing Jesus is accused of."
Some might assume that this stance requires Burgen to embrace a more liberal theology, but he said that simply isn't the case. While the pastor believes that Jesus operated with both grace and truth, he said most churches today simply embrace one or the other — something he's trying to avoid.
"We're not anyone's holy spirit," he said of Flatirons. "You can belong here."
For example, Burgen described how he has a transgender woman who attends service every Sunday. Rather than turn her away, he has allowed her to sit in the front row and listen every week.
As for gays and lesbians who attend his church, Burgen said that it's encouraging to see everyone come to hear the gospel, regardless of disagreements that exist in the Christian world over homosexuality.
File - In this Dec. 5, 2013 file photo, marijuana matures at the Medicine Man dispensary and grow operation in northeast Denver. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, file)
"Take a breath. At least they are here looking for God's truth," he said. "And there are heterosexual couples who come and fight in our lobby. At least they're here."
As for gay marriage, he refrained from judging, but told TheBlaze that he doesn't believe it "lines up with God's best plan for a person."
And while he expressed support for medicinal marijuana, he had some very different views on recreational pot.
"I don't think it's a wise choice. I just don't. I smoked weed in high school and college ... I was on my way to another place," he said. "The people I know who have smoked weed for a while ... have looked back and said it has consequences."
But Burgen, who recently published "No More Dragons," a book about overcoming "bad religion" and strengthening one's faith, said he's not looking to judge people.
"I'm not trying to be everyone's holy spirit ... God will tell you what to do and I really believe that," he said.