Heather: Remind us, how did your Speech, “The Bible in Ten Minutes”, do throughout the season?
Ashley: Ha, ha!
Jathan: This is a good story…
Ashley: We started out at the Kentucky Practice Tournament, and we won that. And that was fun. It was like wow- we should do this more often. Then we went to the WI National Open….
Jathan: Long days and late nights. We did the first three rounds, felt pretty good, felt we were going to break… the next day, we were getting ready to go in to breaks- to find out if we had broken and we get a call for JO (Judge Orientation). And I am very curious as to what this is about.
Ashley: For me, I had been in situations like this. It’s can be super scarey in JO. I felt like we were going die. Jathan is trying to have conversations with me..
Jathan: JO asked us questions about our Duo. We showed them our script, and they asked us about a specific part. What happened was in the original script, there’s a chunk where we are talking about the plagues of Egypt – flies, lice, Spice Girls… In the script it said to add your own if Spice Girls isn’t relevant any more.. So we added in Justin Beiber.
Ashley: We thought it would be funny.
Jathan: We thought the spirit of the text allowed it. But it disqualified us, and we weren’t able to continue on.
Ashley: It was very disappointing and discouraging. I felt like we could only see two inches in front of our nose… this was it- we didn’t break, why go on. And our moms were like is ok, we can fix it. It’s not that big of a deal.
Jathan: And I felt like, they just took away the funniest line. It’s not funny anymore.
Heather: If you can’t say Justin Beiber, it’s never going to go any where! Ha!
Ashley: And then we went to the Kentucky/Indiana Qualifier two weeks after that.
Jathan: After reading some of the ballots from WI, some judges felt we that our piece was sacrilegious..
Jathan: Disrespecting the Bible. That was very concerning… So we significantly changed our Intro for the Kentucky/Indiana Qualifier… Which was how it sort of came to be for Nationals.
Ashley: In between WI and KY we were at each other’s houses constantly. We spent 10 hours, on our Duo, at least, fixing everything. Our goal was not to make fun of the Bible at all. And at that point we were just doing the script. We didn’t have a message.
Jathan: Other than it was the Bible. Looking back at it, it was kind of sterile.
Ashley: Our main goal was to make people laugh. And so our moms really helped to broaden our perspective. We worked on scenes, we cut out scenes that didn’t have any purpose.
Heather: Moms- they know those things!
Ashley: I know!
Kristi: Who knew?!
Ashley: We cut out scenes we liked, because they said we should. When mom and Mrs. Jackson said we shouldn’t do something because it didn’t contribute to the message, I was like but that’s funny, and that what the point was, and that’s what people want. For me, especially when we won Nationals, you know what- your entire piece doesn’t have to make people die laughing, and it can have a lesson, and people will see that. It was just encouraging to me.
Jathan: And we went through a phase that there’s no point to this Duo any more, I felt like everything good was being cut, but that’s because our focus was only to make people laugh. In the end it was to establish a purpose. And it took a really long time for me to be comfortable with our Duo has a message that is actually important, that people need to hear, that is honoring to Christ. And also being funny.
Heather: I just got the chills, Jathan!
Kristi: That so speaks to the whole mission statement of NCFCA. There is nothing in the mission statement that says to make people laugh. I think laughter is good, and there is definitely a place in all that, but ultimately we want to seek truth.
Jathan: It was a lesson I needed in my life, not just in NCFCA. You can honor God through being funny. That is something that is important, it is necessary to be successful. And even if you aren’t successful, you are still honoring God. There is a message behind the reaction.maybe we are helping someone remember something or something they needed. I didn’t fully accept that until Nationals.
Heather: So how important would you say having a message is?
Jathan: I wouldn’t say it’s important, it’s critical. It can’t be pointless.
Ashley: It’s hard to find a piece with a message because the words you can add to a piece are at the beginning, and that’s your intro. You can’t add anything after to say, so the moral of the story is…
Jathan: Our message was a Messiah is coming.
Ashley: I had to accept the fact that sometimes my judges wouldn’t need to hear the message or get it, I was doing it for the glory of God and my own peace. Every time I did it I, was reminded of the message. So next year, when I’m planning my Speeches instead of having fun, or just sounding like great ideas. I have to reevaluate them to see if their is a point. Are people going to walk away are they going to remember your Speech, is it going to encourage them? What’s it going to do for them? It’s a lot of evaluation, because I think I now understand what you need to win Nationals. It takes a lot of work, believing in your message, so now I can help coach the younger ones so they don’t have to go three years not going anywhere because their Speeches don’t have a real hard core message that they believe in, that isn’t just their mom’s suggestion. It’s something that they thought of.
Kristi: Fantastic. I think you guys have touched on so much.