The Five Iron Post

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In November of 1996 something happened that changed, well, pretty much everything. I was in my junior year of college, and as part of a youth ministry class I was taking I attended a youth worker’s convention. One of the exhibitors was a new record label called 5 Minute Walk Records. They were handing out free sampler CDs (score) so I took one and went on my way, completely unaware of what was to come.


After the conference I was going through all the free stuff I got and found the CD. I looked at the bands and didn’t recognize any of them, but thought I’d give it a try anyway. The name of one of the bands really intrigued me. I figured anything called “Five Iron Frenzy” had to be good, and you can’t go wrong with a song called “A Flowery Song”, right?

I put it on and the heavy baseline intro immediately grabbed me. By the time the horns joined in, I was hooked. This strange mix of punk and ska (skunk?) was like nothing I had ever heard before, but I knew I liked it. I knew I liked it a lot.

I turned it up loud and was bopping away to the music when the lyrics suddenly smacked me in my face. The singer’s voice, not necessarily melodic yet strangely haunting, sang to me:

“Gray rainy day, down in the mud for us. Don’t feel I can sing songs to the God in control of the seasons.”

Cue the screeching record sound here.

What? What was this I was listening to? Did a Christian singer just admit to the entire world (okay, maybe just my dorm room, but still) that there were times that he just didn’t feel like singing praises?

Was this okay? Should I listen to this? Should I hide it from everyone the way I hid my Beastie Boys CD? If I listened to this was I going to have to turn in my Christian College Student ID Badge?

As I re-listened to the song (more times than I wish to admit), I was amazed. Sure, he confesses that there are times he just doesn’t feel like praising, but he goes on to say:

“Despite our selfish selves, despite all loss of hope, despite our lack of faith, despite our stony hearts, despite the waning moon, despite the ebbing tide of how we think this world should be –

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

And that pretty much settled it. From that point on I was a Five Iron Frenzy Fan. I made David a mix tape (yeah), sent it to him, and he quickly jumped on board as well.

As we heard more of their songs we realized that although the music was just our style, the lyrics for so many of the songs were challenging, inspiring, and thought-provoking (Kitty-Doggy, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, and Abraham Lincoln Beard not withstanding).

And then came the song that forever changed our approach to ministry, and by extension our lives: Suckerpunch. I could sum it up for you, but I won’t. I’ll post the lyrics because it’s just that great.

Coke bottle glasses, I’m sitting in the corner with my finger up my nose, and my shoelaces untied again, another day of school with no friends.

A social outcast, two grades ahead in math, with my highwater pants, giving meaning to pencil-necked-geek, a dork or so to speak, tongue-in-cheek.

They’re all sucker-punching me, get in line for a wedgie, all I want and all I need, is someone who believes in me.

A song sung for underdogs, for all the left out. A flag flying for losers, somewhere in the Heavens. The God of ever-lasting comfort, believed in me. Loved me when I was faithless, he still died for me.

Junior High schooler with pencils in my pockets, and my Trapper Keeper busted, spilling papers and books on the floor, not wanting seventh grade anymore.

Another class-clown, acting like a goof to be accepted by my peers, giving meaning to pencil-necked-geek, a dork or so to speak, tongue in cheek.

They’re all sucker-punching me, get in line for a wedgie, all I want and all I need, is someone who believes in me.

A song sung for underdogs, for all the left out. A flag flying for losers, somewhere in the Heavens. The God of ever-lasting comfort, believed in me. Loved me when I was faithless, he still died for me.”

That song, in essence, was our calling. To find the dorks, the outcast, the “losers” and let them know that God loves and accepts them just as they are.

As David and I got older, obviously the band grew up as well. They all started getting married and having kids and decided it was time to take a break for a while. Almost seven years after first hearing them, we went to a show on their farewell tour, the appropriately named “Winners Never Quit” tour.

But although we were so bummed that our favorite band was pausing, we knew that our calling was still the same.

As we continued in the ministry, we saw our home, our dinner table, and our bonfire circle fill up with more and more of the outcast. And along the way we became outcasts ourselves. Suddenly we were those losers who needed to know that someone believed in us. We were the ones taking comfort that God loves us, just as we are.

Obviously we introduced everyone around us to Five Iron Frenzy’s music. We played the songs, discussed the lyrics, and watched this group of misfits become true Five Iron Fans. But we also saw something much more incredible happen.

We saw them starting to believe that they were okay, accepted, and even loved just as they are. We saw them turn to the One who inspired the music, and we saw their lives changed.

All they needed was to know that Someone believed in them. And they found Him.

And now we see these misfits, these outcasts, these “losers” out in the world, sharing the message of Hope with fellow outcasts.

In November of 2011 Five Iron Frenzy announced that they were getting back together. This announcement caused not only a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, but also brought so many outcast fans together –  A group of people who really have nothing in common other than the fact that they pretty much have nothing in common with anyone anywhere – yet they know they belong here.

Just a few months ago David and I, along with our oldest son, went to an FIF concert. We sang along with the songs, skanked (Google it), and laughed at the crazy onstage antics. But then at the end of the show, as they always have done, they led this room full of freaks into a time of worship. Together this crowd of misfits raised our voices to the God of everlasting comfort, the One who believes in us.

This is the way they end their shows, and this is the way I will end my post.

Every New Day:

“When I was young, the smallest trick of light could catch my eye

Then life was new and every new day I thought that I could fly

I believed in what I hoped for, and I hoped in things unseen

I had wings and dreams could soar, I just don’t feel like flying anymore


When the stars threw down their spears, watered Heaven with their tears

Before words were spoken, before eternity


Dear Father, I need You, Your strength my heart to mend

I want to fly higher every new day again


When I was small, the furthest I could reach was not so high

Then I thought the world was so much smaller, feeling I could fly

Through distant deeps and skies, behind infinity

Below the face of Heaven, He stoops to create me


Dear Father, I need You, Your strength my heart to mend

I want to fly higher every new day again


Man versus himself, Man versus machine

Man versus the world, Mankind versus me

The struggles go on, the wisdom I lack

The burdens keep piling up on my back

So hard to breathe, to take the next step

The mountain is high, I wade in the depths

Yearning for grace, and hoping for peace

Dear God increase


Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again

Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever

Freedom means love without condition, without a beginning or an end

Here’s my heart, let it be forever Yours

Only You can make every new day seem so new.”


See you tomorrow! 


4 thoughts on “The Five Iron Post

    Tim Wasson said:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Great article. Saw it linked off of Leanor’s post on Facebook. FIF did the same for me growing up. I think I first heard them when a friend of mine brought his “Upbeats and Beatdowns” cassette to Sunday School class and I thought “Holy cow, these guys don’t SOUND like any other Christian band out there”. I was hooked immediately and have been ever since. The melodic hooks mixed with some of the most honest lyrics penned by any group of Christian artists made me a fan for life.

    Chuck said:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

    You’re a couple years ahead of me – it was my junior year of high school when I discovered FIF. I saw them a few times during their first run and just saw them in Columbus, OH a few weeks ago – it was so great!! Stories like yours though – wonderful.

    REBLOG: The Five Iron Post | As It Unfolds... said:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

    […] More FIF love:  […]

    npeirce said:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I am on the younger side of the dedicated FIF fans. I first heard them when I was still in elementary and they had a huge impact on my faith and personality. They made it alright to be weird and have fun, as well as be a Christian around others who weren’t. I loved reading how they impacted your life as well. They are such humble, incredible people.

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