The evening in the well-attended erloserkirche begins with jaunty jazz music from electric piano (konrad buschhuter) and double bass (nikolaus durst). People with red wine glasses stroll through the decagonal architecture. In front of the altar: a speaker’s platform with microphone stand. Unusual impressions for a church. But all this is nothing compared to the trampling, whistling and cheering of the audience, which will be heard again and again in the church hall during the next three hours, as it is usually only known from the public viewing of the soccer world cup.
There had never been an event like this before in bamberg. Poetry slams now take place in almost every city in germany, but today, in addition to three students, five pastors from the region are competing to recite their texts. The topics are as open as the texts she writes are heavy: "god and the world".
Escalation instead of applause
Each performance is judged by applause. Whereby escalating is probably the more appropriate description for the acoustic event that follows all the texts of this evening. Thomas braun, university pastor and organizer of the evening, admits for his profession: "to approach sermons in a more playful way, to take ourselves less seriously, that would do us the least harm."
Student ann katharina re opens the evening with a letter to god. The writing is a bombardment of questions, such as why she was not allowed to enter gotteshauser in scanty clothing, when god knew her naked as he created her. Her fellow student katja steiger wanted to talk to god on the phone right away. At the horer, she confronts him with the question of theodicy, that of suffering in the world in the face of an all-powerful and good god.
In between, the host pastor of the erloserkirche, anne schneider, provides the quietest minutes of the event. Her text "good god, alluding to the cathedral-adorned work of art above the roofs of bamberg, is a linguistic structure of impressive lyrical pragnance, which the audience enjoyed listening to for a long time.
Your colleague mirjam elsel, on the other hand, turns the lecture into a social experiment. Hand messages from the audience are required when the pastor of the hirschaid congregation asks one question after another about her own attitude toward tolerance in various contexts. With a fine sense of the situation, she goes beyond the usual limits of what is openly questionable. No one can escape this text.
Between the lectures, jazz pieces allow the listener to let the heard work. The music could not have been more aptly chosen, since jazz and spoken word (the lyrical recital in front of an audience) share a common history in the 60s of the u.S. In fact, the first poetry slam in history took place in a jazz club in chicago. Regardless of the texts performed, the organizational details of this first preacher slam have to be praised. The evening was as round as the dome of the erloserkirche on the banks of the main-danube canal.
In one breath
The two loudest cheers of the evening catapult maron fuchs and wolfgang blocker (pastor in memmelsdorf-lichteneiche) into the finale. The student recites her text as if in one long breath. A rhymed staccato about the state of the present. The experienced slammer reveals herself to be a "little idealist", who "believes that there is always hope for love." Their spiritual counterpart tells in his contribution about a run-down pastor who no longer succeeds in speaking of his faith with esprit. And yet the i-payer of the text can reply to all those who call his god derelict: "derelict, from heaven to earth!"
The final determination of the winning text was then made by means of a self-ironic voting variant: the audience was allowed to sing the church hit "laudato si" singing as loud as they could for their favorite, which gave maron fuchs the victory.
A much more decisive gain of this evening, however, was the variety of perspectives on "god and the world" dar. And the realization of the poetic power that pastors can develop in six-minute texts when they enter into a competition with each other.
University pastor thomas braun comments on tonight’s experiment as a suggestion for church practice: "i think we pastors have a lot of important things to say, we sometimes just have to package them a little differently in order to reach the people."
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