BAND: Five Iron Frenzy | INTERVIEWER: Bryce Cooley | DATE: October 4th, 2003
Bryce: Ok this is my interview with Five Iron Frenzy, so who am I talking to?
Jeff the Girl: Leonore Ortega, aka Jeff the Girl saxophone player.
Bryce: sweet, ok, one quick question about the break up?
Jeff the Girl: I think well we've been doing it for quite awhile and its been a rad ministry but at the same time there are so many things you have to put on hold in your life and a lot of people in the band our married and financially our band can't support us if we want to have kids and also some of us want to finish college and pursue other things like working at our church and different things, so I think its been awesome but if we want to maintain friendships with members and self preservation and sanity than its probably time that we end.
Bryce: Well that is awesome and we are glad you did it. I am just encouraged that it is a total unanimous decision. Not one of those big dramatic break-ups (she laughs) where everyone hates each other
Jeff the Girl: No we went to a, we have a band pastor Mike Sayers, and we went with him to the mountains and had a 3 day retreat. And talked about it and discussed it and prayed about it and all agreed at the end. It was a hard decision to come to, but at least we all agreed.
Bryce: That's cool.
Bryce: I have always been curious about one thing. On your Proof that the Youth are Revolting CD there is a comment made by Reese about not being able to say 'underwear' because of the Christian Book Store, do you guys not get much stuff from Christian Book Stores?
Jeff the Girl: Oh ya! Part of the problem with our latest album, our joke and parody album "Cheeses of Nazareth" family Christian book stores wouldn't carry it if that was the official title. So we named it "Cheeses" I think that is SO Silly but (I agree) but its just not worth the battle. I would rather a lot of kids get to hear the CD and not call it "Cheeses of Nazareth" than not a lot of kids get to hear it because their parents only let them get things from Christian Book Stores.
Bryce: Ya I tell lots of the kids in my youth group "oh you mean cheeses of Nazareth" and their like "Cheese" (she laughs). Ya I saw a pre-release and it said "cheeses of Nazareth" and when it came in it says "Cheeses" and I was like WHAT THE HECK!
Jeff the Girl: Yup, FAMILY CHRISTIAN BOOK STORE STRIKES AGAIN.
Bryce: When it comes to stuff in the church like denominations, what are your feelings on them.
Jeff the Girl: Mine personally? I think that they are man made but I also think that there are many different ways to worship and I think that it is important for a person to find a way that they best worship. But its also think it is important to be open minded to other styles, In different times of your life you may need other styles. There were times in my life when I needed the love, the openness, and expression of charismatic churches, where as right now I find that I need to see God less as a friend and more as a Savior and more as a very reverent God. So I am starting to turn back to the more liturgical services, but there is definitely a balance to both. There are plus sides to both, but I believe the plus is a balance between them, because God is ALL these things.
Bryce: I have always thought denominations are man made, because like you said one person wanted to worship in this way, because they didn't feel comfortable with this other way but, at the same time there is good in all of it God is found in all of it people just have different ways of expressing their love for him.
Jeff the Girl: And I think that the reason people talk so much trash about different denominations is because they don't know, because we fear of the unknown, if they got to know people in those other denominations they might change their mind. Like in Five Iron we have 2 hardcore charismatic people, and 2 hardcore Calvinist people and the rest are pretty non-denominational (I add yes non-denominationa" denominational). And I think it's been pretty awesome getting to know each other. Because we fear the unknown, I used to think that Calvinists are so pessimistic and dogmatic, but that is not necessarily true, there is stuff we have to learn from each other.
Bryce: Yeah, my girlfriend actually goes to a very charismatic church and that was my first experience at one, there were people speaking in tongues and stuff like that. I don't discount it but there are a lot of people who say, "Oh your not filled with the spirit" if you don't speak in tongues (she says "THAT'S WRONG") I just feel that's not right. Its like I love Jesus as much as the next person he just hasn't given me that gift he has given me Love and Compassion.
Jeff the Girl: Ya that's wrong, I think when you take (pauses) have you heard the quote "there should be unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials and in all things charity" meaning there are certain core beliefs in Christianity we should all believe in and in the other things have liberty in it. I think its sad when we judge others based on those non-essentials.
Bryce: Ya working at a Christian Book Store you hear all the stupid debates, the ones that no one knows the answer but they feel they need to debate because they are right. Things like pre-trib, post-trib all this stuff, its like no one knows, and I just see it as causing division. (She says "ya a lot of it does"), and its just like just focus on loving people, focus on JESUS (she says "ya") and don't worry about the other stuff.
Jeff the Girl: I think the reason it matters to people is because it forms the way they live their lives. And we need a reason to live each day; some people need to believe Christ is coming soon to live each day. Some people need to think they need time to live. Basically our pastor says "our morality affects your theology" and that's very true, basically we form our theology to whatever morality we want to live with. Whatever integrity we want to give Christianity is what we form our theology with, its sad?.
Bryce: I've heard a saying by this bible theologian (Chuck Missler) "If you torture the text enough it will confess to anything" (she says "oh ya") like if you want to justify sex you will find the verses that say "look you can do this".
Jeff the Girl: you can justify anything through the bible.
Bryce: yea it's easy to misconstrue
Bryce: what would you say is the one thing you have noticed through your time in ministry that the church needs to work on?
Jeff the Girl: they need to be more creative. What is the point of a bunch of seats and one person talking to you, can we make the church circular, can we make a lot of people talk, can we make it more about dialogue listening and asking questions and answering. It is kind of the problem we have in the educational system where there is a teacher who knows "everything" nobody doubts or questions, and they just regurgitate answers and never experience anything. Can we take church outside of a building? Just be more creative I guess, I think we have a way of how it looks, and a program of how it looks and now theirs the new Gen X church where you follow this model just call it "the edge" I think it is very important to look at the people you are ministering to and find the most creative way to reach them. Be as Paul like the "Romans to the Romans" I think we say "come to church dress nice and do what we do and then you'll be a Christian".
Bryce: One thing I like is the churches that put on hardcore shows, or punk shows and letting the kids, dance around, mosh, maybe not stage dive we had a kid crack his head open at a show we put on. But it just shows people that we are open to everyone, and you can have tattoos, piercings and Mohawks and we love you just as much.
Jeff the Girl: I think skate church is such a cool idea, we have one in Denver
Bryce: that's awesome; I think churches need to work on loving more.
Jeff the Girl: ya well that's the basis of it. I think the problem is, and I am not saying I am good at this because I am really not. The problem is we don't want to be transparent, we really don't and it sucks because there is a lot of sin going on in each of us, there's a lot of doubt going on and we fear that we won't be accepted or we feel we will be rejected so we don't let people in there and then we can't love because we are scared that they don't love us, so we put up walls. It takes a lot of work, a lot of work.
Bryce: ya, the thing I try to do to "keep satan at bay" is tell people about things I am struggling with. If you don't it just eats you up inside and makes you feel unforgivable because you have this deep dark secret if you let it out its in the light, and you can have other people pray for you. It is also showing God that hey, I don't want this and I need you.
Jeff the Girl: It also goes back to the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, and confessing our sins to one another so we can pray for one another. I think it is important for each of us to have a mentor, someone we are mentoring, and someone to encourage us. Those people will be the people you talk to the most, there are of course other people you will talk to, but it's important to, like you said, to have someone you can always talk to. The cool thing about my mentor is she never gives me advice and she never tells me I am wrong, she listens. She know she doesn't have to because if I am confessing it is because I know it's wrong.
Bryce: Ya that is something I need to work on. Because I like to fix things
Jeff the Girl: ya, men do sometimes
Bryce: ya very true statement
Jeff the Girl: I'm like that too sometimes, I give advice rather than give gentle patience
Bryce: ya my girlfriend is helping me a lot with that, she will say "I don't need you to fix I just need you to listen".
Jeff the Girl: exactly, I hate when they give advice when you are just trying to tell them something
Bryce: It is a learning experience; because people often want me to fix things, so I am like Why wouldn't you want me to fix it.
Jeff the Girl: one thing you can do in that situation is draw them out with questions, very detailed questions like "how does this make you feel?" "Where do you think you went wrong?" "What could you have done different?" Just a bunch of questions that will help her talk it out, because as women we process as we talk it out or write it out. We don?t understand how we feel until we tell someone else and then we are like "Oh, I didn't know I felt that way."
Bryce: Ya I have noticed that.
Jeff the Girl: it takes a patient man to field the right questions. That draws a woman out.
Bryce: what has been one of the most life changing verses for you?
Jeff the Girl: I think its Romans 5:8, about suffering -> perseverance -> character -> hope and hope does not disappoint us. I have had a younger brother pass away about 3 years ago, and just a lot of pain and suffering to realize that, Reese always says "God never takes anything away without giving us something better." I think that something better is more faith in God. It takes years to see that but I think suffering does produce hope. Anyone who is going through suffering will see that eventually.
Bryce: that is along the lines of my favorite James 1:2-4, rejoice when you suffer trials of any kind. That is just a great encouragement when your down and like "man this sucks I don't see how anything good can come out of this" but if you just rely on Christ and say "I'm giving this to you" even if it hurts to much you will experience the most joy in world as God brings you through it, in his timing.
Jeff the Girl: exactly!
Bryce: you just have to learn to wait for it
Jeff the Girl: Once you have gone through something like that and he gets you through you know "well he didn't leave me through that, so he won't leave me through this" than you live a life of understanding, that he never leaves us, because Christ never leaves us. We think that the only problem is it is us who do not allow him to be there, he is there we just don't acknowledge him. "I don't feel close to God", "He feels far", "He is far" that is us not him. That goes along with the second thing I have been learning. The word is "allow" allowing God to do what he needs to do to me.
Bryce: I think that is one of the hardest things to do as Christians just saying "Ok God we are going to do this in your time even though I want it now." Well thank you very much for interview.