“How do you make God laugh? Tell him about your plans,” says Georg Lindl, and if you listen to him like that, you can well imagine that he will also use such sayings in his sermons. Lindl has been working in St. Benedikt in Gauting since September 1st, after his predecessor, Stefan Scheifele, accepted a leading position in the Schäftlarn parish association after seven months there.
Georg Lindl was born in Regensburg in 1964 as the oldest of three siblings. As the son of church-committed parents, he was soon drawn into church youth work. There he worked as an altar boy. But after graduating from high school, he wasn’t quite sure which career path to pursue. “Then came the military service, 15 months of compulsory military service in Dillingen an der Donau,” he says. During this time the decision to become a priest was made. Three motives played an important role: “I wanted to have a job that had to do with people. I wanted to do something in life that had a religious dimension. And I couldn’t imagine pursuing a career in which that commercial interest comes first, “he says.
The first two years of studying theology in Regensburg were followed by two more years of studying philosophy in Munich. “Because studying is not an end in itself, but should serve work,” explains Lindl, he worked as a teacher and educator at the St. Blasien college in the Black Forest. He finished his theology studies in the USA. It took him to Boston on the American East Coast for three years. The pastor reminisces: “It was really a great time!” He traveled to 46 of a total of 50 states and eagerly talks about camping in the national parks. Fortunately, a bear never attacked him. “Just one bird,” he laughs, “it pecked my whole cereal supply away.”
At the age of 31 he returned to Germany with the aim of getting to know his own country better. Lindl traveled to the various federal states – only “I haven’t been to the North Sea yet,” he says. In 1995 he was ordained a priest. And what does it mean to be a pastor? “To be a pastor means to be human – to be human, to be Christian, to be a priest. That means empathy and relationship skills, that you have a feeling for people.” He was drawn to St. Blasien again, as he did during his studies. Then followed three years as a chaplain in Prien am Chiemsee and five years as a pastor in Erding. Then Lindl took over the management of the town church in Traunstein for eleven years. “It is common in the Church to stay in one place for ten to twelve years and then make a change,” he explains.
Now he’s here in Gauting and wants to get to know everything first. “As a newcomer, you should first look at everything as it is. And don’t come straight away with the attitude of the know-it-all who changes everything.” His goal is to accompany people in everyday life on their life paths, “not from above, but at eye level,” he emphasizes. His focus is on exchange. And: He wants to strengthen the life of faith – “bring across a confrontation of life and gospel.” He is excited about the future. “I don’t know what the next few years will bring, but society is changing dramatically and we are of course involved in social discourse.”
In all his years as a priest, did his image of God change during this time? Pastor Lindl decidedly affirmative. “This religious dimension in life has grown stronger. I don’t have to wrestle or fight for my belief, it has always been my choice.” A well-known saying from Paul’s letter to the Romans always accompanies him, as he says: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.” Nothing can separate the pastor from his love for the mountain: “I am an enthusiastic mountaineer, climber and ski tourer,” he says with a broad grin on his lips. “You won’t find me in Gauting on Monday. At 6 o’clock I’m on my way to Garmisch or Füssen.”