Theologian sees much spirituality in Odo Lindenberg

DOMRADIO.DE: Is Udo Lindenberg a religious person and a religious artist?

Uwe Bernstein (theologian and Lindenberg expert): There is the question of what is meant by religious. Baptized but no longer a member of the Church, he has his own spiritual side. The last questions: What happens after death? Is there a higher power that somehow had a plan for this world or once had a plan? What is the meaning of life? He can always combine it in a very original way, sometimes humorous, sometimes as deep as his songs. That is why I would say that Odo Lindenberg is a very spiritual person.

DOMRADIO.DE: He was baptized as a Protestant at the age of nine, was confirmed and later left. How did Odo Lindenberg remain a Protestant?

pear stone: I found out about it in my first interview with him in the mid-’80s. We were sitting in a smoky basement studio and he said to me, I was studying theology at the time: You know, Martin Luther said “If the world were to end tomorrow, I’d still plant an apple tree today”, that’s something like that also like my life motto. Then I thought: This is a brother in the spirit of Martin Luther. It is very important for Luther that people understand in understandable language what faith is. Odo Lindenberg’s saying “Don’t panic” is probably also Lindenberg’s modern translation of the angel’s greeting from the Bible: “Do not be afraid.”

Oh Bernstein

This is Martin Luther’s soul brother.

DOMRADIO.DE: As a self-proclaimed Rampensau, Udo Lindenberg was never shy about provocation, always singing in plain language. They say he always showed respect when it came to religion and religious feelings. what are you up to?

pear stone: He has a funny side at times that sometimes crosses the line to his weak point. But, for example, after he wrote a song about nuns, the Franciscan nuns wrote to him: Dear Odo Lindenberg, let us not allow ourselves to be so easily taken over and belittled as clichés. Come to us. And he went in there and actually changed the lyrics sometime after that. This is already showing that he is also able to learn in the field.

Oh Bernstein

“He is definitely able to learn in this field.”

DOMRADIO.DE: His songs have depth, they are about the great themes of life: love, the search for meaning, death. Especially when it comes to death, there is always the belief that there is life after death. How does Lindenberg express this?

pear stone: One of his new songs is called: When You Go. A priest recently told me that this song is more and more sought after by mourners at funerals. It’s like a deathbed song. Lindenberg talks to a dying person and then finds very beautiful poetic words. She says: If you go, the sky will collapse and someone else will take you. I think it’s special for someone in a pop scene to talk or sing openly about what can happen after death.

DOMRADIO.DE: Lindenberg has always worked closely with churchmen, for example with the Bonifatiuswerk for German Catholics or with the Hamburg neighborhood pastor Reeperbahn. Again, what does this show?

pear stone: This shows that Odo Lindenberg raises his hat to God, but not to the Church. In any situation where the Church opposes freedom of belief, Lindenberg will always say: Please don’t do it like this, it doesn’t work that way. But wherever he finds allies for a more peaceful world, including some Catholic and Protestant institutions, he is willing to cooperate. I find that very cool of him. Bonifatiuswerk organizes exhibitions, among other things. Odo Lindenberg is not only a singer, he painted pictures of the Ten Commandments. The exhibition was also shown by Bonifatiuswerk on the Last Catholic Day in Münster.

Oh Bernstein

“This shows that Odo Lindenberg takes his hat to God, but not to the Church.”

DOMRADIO.DE: What do you think of the meaning of Udo Lindenberg when he calls himself a free believer?

pear stone: I think this is very Protestant. Check everything to make sure it’s correct. He is a free thinker and a free believer, who takes from faith what he believes to be true and correct. This is much more than many, many other people.

Interviewed by Hilda Reginiter.

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