Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend - 10-26-2008

Well its a cold dreary night outside but it was still a great weekend I guess. Let's back up a little to see why.

Thursday Kt had her last CC meet of the season. She did pretty well. Her time was 20 seconds better than the last meet and her place was just a couple off from last year. A fine end to the season. Now if she could keep up the fortitude during the off season.

After her meet was the last regular season game for Wisco FB. We played Oconomowoc with our second string and even some 3rd string and still beat them 42-19. It was neat because the 4 Sgt's from Zach's Recruiting Sub-station did the colorgard for the National Anthem. Here is a picture:

Zach's Recruiter is the short guy on the right. He still could throw me across the room. He is a really great guy. The Marines still have the best dress uniforms ever.

Speaking of Zach. We have gotten a number of letters from him. I think he is feeling the stress a bit now. He is not fond of Camp Pendleton and its deserty red dust. He is still very determined and is doing well with his scores and accomplishments but you can tell his resolve for handling the DI's is under stress. His biggest comment is that "It keeps getting harder and harder..." Well I think things will improve by the end of phase two in two weeks. He has already mentioned the Rifle instructors are more laid back and he likes that. Also this Thursday is halfway day. Well for me at least the time is going fast.

On Saturday I went on an adventure to get my phone fixed. It was cutting out every other second making conversations a bit impossible. I ended up sending my Blackberry back to RIM for a replacement. When the new one comes back K will get it. I got myself an even better phone. A samsung Epic. This phone is awesome. It has Wi-fi, Windows Mobile, Windows Media Player, touch screen and mouse thing as well as a stylus. It syncs up great with work stuff. It has lots of things to figure out and also some tricks to make sure it is not sitting there draining power really fast. It does seem like my pocket will stop dialing people randomly though.

After that Karen and I went to Madison to the Overature Center for the first show of the season. We saw the Broadway show Ave. Q. Very inappropriate. very funny though. We had a fabulous dinner at K's parents.

Today, after church, we went to a large college fair at the Midwest Airlines Center. College is expensive I've determined. I'm all for 1st Lt. Niedfeldt completing college somewhere.

Today I completed my first assignment for my first class of my masters. So far so good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crusader's Unite!

Blogs are an interesting creature. They are the next "AM Radio Mentality" generator of the 21st Century. I make fun of those whose world view is based upon what they hear from AM Radio Talk show hosts. Even though I may agree with many things of those most conservative talk show types, that is only a place to start investigating the issues at large. Well the issue is similar in the Blogosphere and I believe it is definitely a problem with the Confessional Crusaders.
I took an opportunity to make the lives of the confessional crusaders more interesting and fulfilling the last few days. I had taken some time off for a couple of months during a lull in topics but thought, "Hey what better time to stir up some debate than Reformation time."
However the latest round of bantoring certainly was illuminating about Confessional Crusaders. Here is what I have learned.

1.) The confessional crusaders actually feel as if their position is the same minority position within the WELS as the contemporaries do. The weird part about it is that we each feel that the other group is the dominant group. I guess what that means is that we are two different fringe groups. There is uber confessional, there is contemporary, and there is this massive majority in the middle who might just say "whaaat are you talking about???" If this is the case however, I would contend that that large mass in the middle would be far far far more friendly towards the uber confessionals. They get the hanging chad. I think both groups are disappointed in the apathy of that group in the middle.

2.) I've realized that the scope of the issues is very small yet the Crusaders have manufactured a crisis. This goes back to the "AM Radio mentality". The Crusaders point to the same 1% crowd of churches and pastors and actually believe it represents a tidlewave of Synodical change. It's like believing Ralph Nader is a serious election threat. Actually its probably more like the hype around Global Warming. Sure you can reduce emissions or increase them. You can panic your way into living on bark and berries in the woods but whether its 10 years from now or 100 you'll finally realize there was no threat at all. Same deal for the Crusaders. I wonder if they all have priuses. They're a scared little bunch of people of whom some seem hyped up by some Area 51 type conspiracy theories.

3.)I believe the Crusaders are for some reason or another afraid of Christian Freedom. I can't put my finger on why that is, but they need rules and laws and regulations around the various principles of the Bible so they can go to their Bible Principle Application Matrix and locate the proper answer to all life's situations. You can see that if something is not delineated in Scripture they will pore through Luther's works and hope that Luther had an opinion and wrote on it. If he did, phew we're saved by scripture part II. Their frustration must be similar to the frustration level of the pharisees after they had tried to trick Jesus so many times with a loaded question. Jesus always answered the questions with a principle not an application. I think that if you are not confident in your Christian freedom that the inclination will be towards legalism, rules and ritualism. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with anything traditional or ritualistic. What's wrong is prescribing that as the only acceptable application of a loosely defined principle. I actually wonder if they are a bit afraid of the Bible itself. They will often quote an article of a confession but will rarely go into the Word to examine all the scripture that Luther did to write the confession in the first place. I appreciate that the confessions state the doctrine of the Bible but honestly I'd rather see those confessions laid out in scripture. I think you can better appreciate the confession right at the source. I'd say its like depending only on the Cliff notes.

4.) Crusaders blindly believe you cannot have "meat" in a contemporary setting. There is no convincing them that really there may be no difference at all. I'll confess that not every contemporary setting may be the same or offer as much. However when I go to church and have a confession of sin...I had a confession of sin. When I received an absolution, I received and absolution. When a sermon was preached it was a Law and Gospel sermon. I receive the Sacraments. My old church would be so confusing for them as the contemporary service uses all the elements from the other 4 traditional services but changes up some of the songs and adds the multimedia. In a situation like that, based on the differences, that the meat that is lacking in contemporary is just the music style. Thats just not the meat for me. Apparently the truth of the Bible we enjoy in the WELS just can't be presented in any other fashion or it ceases to be truth at all.

5.) So since we contemporaries are all smug in our service style and such we'll just let them prattle on about how our services are like the reformed and evangelicals etc. etc. bad theology is a foregone conclusion etc etc.. I have learned that it is not a point worth winning. Its like listening to my daughter complain about being fat because she is in size 8 jeans.. There is no convincing her she's not...the reality doesn't change..yet winning the point is just not important either. The point is contemporaries are content to be off doing their thing and not caring much about the choices others make. They can be traditional and such. There is no need to convert them or anything. How about they just don't go to a contemporary church and instead go to a traditional church. I will say I'm not in favor of churches replacing their traditional services. A contemporary service should always be an add-on not a replacement. For the mission churches that are all contemporary. Well thats the choice they made to start with so I guess if thats not what you want don't join the mission. I don't understand why they can't leave the 1% society alone.

6.) Crusaders feel that all the mission work and personal growth is done in the service. The service must be traditional because that is the only presentation of the Word so it must be done in its historic way. Anyone in a mission church knows how false this is. It is done by getting out and talking to people. Its having Bible studies with them in their homes. Its getting them into Bible study groups. Its the Bible studies after church. Its the getting into the Word with people as often as possible. It's getting into the community in a visible way so you can even have the first conversation with someone and get them into Bible class. The process takes months or years maybe. Who knows when someone who is searching may actually come to church. We've had people go to months of Bible study before they would come to a service. Its the opportunities to get into the Word. There is more than just the service. This is something you could only show a Crusader. They might say "The kids were running around, the sound guy was drinking coffee, the band was loud, etc..." but often when you suggest they stay for our bible study on Acts, or hit up the Women's bible study or the Men's Breakfast Bible Study, or the Small Group study or the Bible instruction bible study...queue the crickets here... Bring a friend?....still the crickets...

Well I think the Crusaders should unite. Quite honestly I want them to be heard in the synod. Then truly there would be some Bible study going on and it would sorely benefit them. Although the crusaders would show up with their Triglotta and say all the Bible study has been done already so why bother. Ok that was a joke....kinda.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week in review 10/20/2008

So an uninteresting week. I'm not sure there was too much noteworthy. Ike started his first job on Saturday at the roller rink. Katie worked all weekend. Karen went to Prairie Du Chien with her parents for a two day leaf peeper hike along the bluffs of the Mississippi.

I stayed home and worked on Victory's latest website upgrade. I'm long overdue in putting up a content management system for the Victory website. Well its almost complete and you can look for it this week. I implemented a .NET/C# wiki based technology for collaborative web work among members. It has a lot of sweet functionality. It positively tickles my geek bone. Just wait until I get the WAP (Cell phone internet) part of the site going. I will one day succeed at being the most technologically advanced WELS website. Just wait until I get the silverlight presentations going.

I was excited by the Packers win this weekend. I want Rodgers record to be better than Favre's this year. Wisco won handily but at a possible loss of their QB for the rest of the season. Since The team is ranked 4th in the state overall and 1st in the medium sized schools it might make the ride to the State championship game a little more interesting. However, this years team is a lot more than about one person. It is a team where no small group of superstars stand out but they are rolling over their opponents.

We got some letters from Zach. He still focuses on the blandness of the food, the increasing levels of workouts and "Incentive training", as well as the just general difficulty of it all. His attitude is still positive though as he says despite the hardness he is getting stronger and promises to break Ike apart when he comes home. That is love! He is doing two weeks of rifle work now and I expect he will feel a whole lot better about things.

Here is a good picture of Katie and Ike at least as they were all dressed up for our friends wedding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Weekend Update

There wasn't too much to report about this weekend but thre was some family items of note. Friday was Kt's "big" meet where Wisco hosts one of the largest CC races in the state (nearly 900 runners) She did very well coming in 4th for the team and bringing her time down by 1:15. Her time is now where it was last season. Of course she only has two races left I believe. She was very happy and I could see her doing well. The thing is she always has those good races inside of her she just needs to know they are there.

Friday night was the Wisco Homecoming game. We beat West Bend West 51-21. It was fun to watch. Wisco really needs to play in a tougher conference. They are all Division 1 schools but they are div 1 schools that suck.

After the game Ike had some friends over. Through his good friend Nick, who is formerly of St. Paul's and now a freshmen at New Berlin Eisenhower, he has also met some additional friends who all go to Wisco as freshmen. They all came over for a homecoming party. It was small but they had fun. A beginning of a new much for the peace and quiet of the departure of Z's friends from our home.

Saturday Ike had Saturday School. He was thrilled of course. After that him and I headed to Fort Atkinson to attend a suprise party for my brother's 25th wedding anniversary. We had fun talking to cousins I hadn't seen in probably 10 years. I gave their children all kinds of great advice. They will be deprogramming them for a few days I'm sure. Ike also kept them entertained. Katie was working on Saturday and then went to help baby sit the twins. Karen was off at book club.

Sunday was truly uneventful unless you count mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, doing laundry and watching parts of the Packer game. Katie had Dexter over , Ike just did homework and was a vidiot all day.

I think that covers our exciting weekend. WOW!


Zach's Next 4 Training Weeks (phase 2)

Week 4

T18,19 and 20
This is swim week, at the end of this week they will be classified by how strong of a swimmer they are. If they are looking to be and AAV crewmen they must qualify at least a 2, if they are going to Recon they must qualify as a 1. Don’t worry about them they will learn how to swim, and they will be able to do it with their weapon and in their Utes and boots. By Wednesday afternoon they will all be at least a 4 which is what they have to be to graduate.

(Each level must be accomplished before moving up to the next level.)

CWS4 - 4th Class: Minimum qualification for enlisted Marines; Re-qualify every year. Qualify in utilities uniform only (no boots).

CWS3 - 3rd Class: Re-qualify every two years.Display personal survival under combat situations and while on maneuvers in full combat gear.

CWS2 - 2nd Class: Re-qualify every three years.Display the ability to assist an exhausted/wounded Marine to safety wearing full combat gear.

CWS1 - 1st Class: Re-qualify every four years.Not accomplished in Boot Camp.Check out this link for more info:

Pugil sticks again some more fun and they will run the bayonet assault course(BAC). The assault course is kind of fun also they run from station to station and take on rubber dummies’ with their weapon and bayonet. Using the training they have learned. How to parry (push away another weapon pointed at them) and thrust; the horizontal but stroke, vertical but stroke and the thrust.

More Marine Corps history, this is an item that will be tested on the practical knowledge test. Now they will also be getting ready for their free bus ride up north. Getting their gear all packed and stacked.

They move north, into phase 2. This is the bus ride up to Edson range. The first time they have been off the depot since they have arrived. They will ride about 40 miles to Camp Pendleton, during this ride the DI tell them to sleep, another first for them is sleeping during the day, which would normally be training time. Once the arrive at the WFTBN( Weapons and Field Training Battalion) they will move into a new house and spend the weekend setting up, getting their gear squared away for the training to come. For most of them this is the most fun they will have in boot camp.

Week 5, 6, 7 (Phase 2)

Well they have made the move north, they spent the weekend setting up the house and getting any other equipment that they will need for this phase of training over the weekend.Their basic daily activities are about the same as they were at the depot, wake up hygiene and get ready for training. They have a chow hall but now they will get to eat some MRE's Meal Ready To Eat is the right name for them but knowing marines they have a whole bunch of other names for them also (Meals Rejected By everybody, or Meals Refusing to Exit!!!! :)

this week is Marksmanship I they are going to spend a lot time on this. Every Marine is a rifleman, and this is where they teach them to be the best in the world. They are going to learn the firing positions, the correct way to align the sites, how to breathe, and how to adjust the sites for their rifle. A lot of this will be done before they ever step foot on a live fire range. Then they will zero their rifle it is a long process for some of them and for others it will be easy, but they will have a coach and the DI's to help them do it.

Week 1 - Grass Week
the recruits will spend all day at the circles 'snapping in' with their PMI (Primary Marksmanship Instructor). He wears the campaign cover as well (Smokey bear), but he is a lot more laid back and allows the recruits to relax a bit so they can learn better. They will also get a zero for their sights this week, so Wednesday they will get to go to the live fire range and actually do a little shooting. Mostly though they will be snapping in a circle, and dry firing, practicing their trigger control, breathing techniques, and shooting positions. They will have the 3 and 5 mile "humps" (that’s marine for hiking with heavy packs), with a full combat load (kevlar helmet, flak jacket, and LBV (load bearing vest)). The 3 mile was pretty easy in my opinion, just like going for a nice walk at a quick pace. The 5 mile is a bit harder because they add hills to this one.

Week 2 - Marksmanship Week
they will spend all day Monday - Thursday out at the rifle range. They will split them up and have half of them pulling down in the pits, while half of them fire, then they will switch out around midday. Thursday will be qual day, and whatever they shoot that day will determine what badge they get. The DIs won’t pressure them much this week because they want them to be able to concentrate on shooting. The 8 mile hike isn’t as hard as the 5 mile only because there are fewer hills. They will probably get a 5-10 minute break on this one too, where they drop packs sit down and drink water. They usually try and do the hikes in the morning too, when it’s not hot yet. Marksmanship week and grass week are probably the easiest 2 weeks of training.

Week 3 - Field Week
Here the recruits will go out to the field and set up hooches where they and a "hoochmate" will sleep. Your recruits will not have this problem, but when I was there, it was February and it was cold and rainy. You have to get undressed (down to shorts and skivvy shirt) before you can hit the rack, and it got real cold real fast. Hygiene out here is also not fun, but it's something they have to learn how to do. Ask them about it when they get back :P They have lots of things to do this week including a night infiltration course, a day assault course, land nav, patrolling, gas chamber and MOPP gear training, and combat marksmanship (yes they will be firing again this week). This is all in preparation for the crucible coming up, where they will be evaluated on all they have learned.

The end of the week will be with a short hump 5 miles. A hump is a hike with all of their equipment on, and the DIs set the pace.

Zach's Boot Camp Days thru Sat 10/11

Week 1

Monday is part of pick up week and they are still being taught in house procedures, forming for chow, and today they will be issued their weapons. Drill during the first weeks is a constant item being taught, the proper way to stand at attention, at ease, and rest. How to march and change directions while standing still and marching.

Training day 1 (T-1)
Interior Guard; they will be taught how to stand a guard post and what general orders are and what the special orders are for the post they are guarding. Interior guard is the guard performed inside of an installation. Like the fire guard they will do every night, or guarding a building. Exterior guard is the guard they perform in the field like an observation post or listing post in a tactical environment. This is taught with a classroom lecture and then some hands on training.

First Aid This is classroom and hands on training, they will be taught CPR, how to stop bleeding set fractured bones, and to identify heat injuries. A long day in the class room for them Drill will make up part of this day also.

Intro to Mcmaps this is the MARINE CORPS MARTIAL ARTS PROGRAM. This is the marines hand to hand fighting, mixed with some martial arts, wrestling. They will be learning how to strike and counter strike, chokes and holds. This training will continue through out boot camp and they will have to demonstrate how to do all of the things they are taught in MCMAPS, one of the graduation requirements.

Marine Corps history this is the first of many classes on Marine Corps history. They will take it from Tunn Tavern where every recruit got a pint for enlisting. . They will learn of famous people like Smedley butler who won 2 medals of Honor and first introduced the bull dog as the official mascot of the Marine Corps. They will learn where the term devil dog came from, and what it means to be a US Marine. The marines have a history older than the nation, and they are very proud of.

Sprints Main event for today is sprints, if you have watched foot ball training camps you know very well what this is, physical training will be done every day, and it will be different each day working on their strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardio. Every free minute that they DI's have they will be teaching them something, 12 weeks may sound like a long time but it is not with all of the training that they have to learn, and perform. So they will be busy, and they will be rushed and they will be put under the stress, and it will be hard, and it will be a challenge. But it will all be worth it for them.

Week 2

Upper strikes are the main for today, Part of the MCMAPS training, again mixed in all of this is drill, they will be evaluated on drill and this is one of the events that give them a few bragging rights, with the other platoons.

Pugil sticks, this is the first introduction to bayonet training, the moves used here in pugil sticks are the same ones used for the bayonet. This is also some competition between squads and each other. They will be suited up with pads and helmet, and practicing one each other. May not sound so good to the parents; but they really like it gives them some time to release some frustrations.

Circuit training is more physical training, going through a course made up of stations. Might be as many as 15 of them at each station they have to do an exercise for a proscribed period of time, push up, then run to the next and do crunches. Very tiring, but really good for them… Bases are a running builder, measured distances that have to be ran at full speed. Like running the bases in baseball. Full speed to a stop; and then full speed again. Really builds the wind.
Obstacle Course, again a lot of physical activity. They will be walked through each of the obstacles every recruit will go through them with the DI’s and the rest of the platoon watching, once they have done this s few time they will go through it at full speed. They may be timed and compete against each other. This works the whole body giving flexibility and agility.

Mcmaps training again. This time how to counter strikes against them, all part of the marine corps hand to hand combat training.

Circuit training and bases again. This will be a hard week physically for them. Don’t worry they will not have a hard time sleeping. All of this training is getting them ready for the more physically demanding training yet to come.

During all of this time they will be getting other training as well, remember they are being taught how to drill and will spend a lot of time on the parade deck learning how to move as a unit; How to perform the manual of arms correctly. At the end of the third week they will have initial drill competition, this is one of the measuring sticks for the DI’s and the platoons. To see how much they have learned and how well the DI;s have taught them.

Week 3

Confidence Course 1. (Just a little side note for all you parents who might fly into San Diego if you are setting on the right side of the plane as it comes in to land you will see this confidence course, and the repel tower with Marines written on it) But I digress, the confidence course is just that it builds confidence in ones self while they are going through the course, they have high obstacles to negotiate, and low ones that require their full attention and strength. In my day as a DI I liked to go through this as well we had to demonstrate how to do the course and it was a confidence booster for us as well.

Well this day says boots and utes run, this is marine speak for running in your combat boots and utility uniforms. Cammies as they call them. This their combat uniforms.

They are back at it again with the pugil sticks and learning more about how to fight with a weapon with the bayonet attached to it. Again they will be competing against each other and maybe against other platoons. They will like this, I know some of you are wonder how they can like beating up on each other with sticks but they do, ask them on graduation day.

Ability group runs, this is where they devide up the platoon in ability groups, these groups are based on their run times for the initial fitness test. The faster runners will really get worked out but then again they will all be worked out on this run. It is designed to help them get faster in their run time.

SDI inspection. This will be the first real intro to inspections, all of their equipment will be inspected, their racks, foot lockers, wall lockers and their persons will be inspected. At the same time some of their knowledge will be test when they are asked questions about their weapons, how much does it weigh, how far can it shoot. What their general orders are, and they have to know this information off the top of their head not cheat sheets or notes for this test#61514;

Initial drill. They will move onto the parade deck as a platoon with one of the DI’s in charge, the rest of the DI’s will be in the taco stand on the parade deck watching. The battalion drill master is in charge and they will be given a card with all of the movement that the platoon will have to perform and then they will set off to do them. Each movement is graded, at the end the grades will be added up and the platoon with the highest score will have some bragging rights. This competition also counts for honor platoon. Some of the SDI’s might give them phone calls if they win. Phone calls are a reward for doing something above and beyond so if you get one just know that your recruit or his platoon has done very well in the SDI’s eyes….

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Something Has Reached Middle Age

Yes indeed, the BMW has hit middle age as of yesterday. Try and get that out of your American car with NO maintenance from 150,000 to 250,000 miles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Practical Example of Church Growth vs Traditional

I have often engaged in debate about the use of Christian freedom and such things as using contemporary material in worship. Criticism of these kinds of things generally takes anything that is not traditional and liturgical and in a misguided fashion lumps them in this dubious category of "Church Growth". Just because something is new or modern does not mean it is church growth. The problem with church growth are its motives. CG tends to focus on outward results as reflected in attendance, decisions for Christ, demographics, etc... So with that long introduction to the topic I think this joke sent to me by Cheryl touches on all the high points of debate such as personal ministry vs. the OHM, outcome based faith programs and the pitfalls of traditional worship. I was highly amused:

The Cab Driver Goes to Heaven

A cab driver reaches the Pearly Gates and announces his presence to St. Peter, who looks him up in his Big Book. Upon reading the entry for the cabbie, St. Peter invites him to pick up a silk robe and a golden staff and to proceed into Heaven.

A preacher is next in line behind the cabby and has been watching these proceedings with interest. He announces himself to St. Peter. Upon scanning the preacher's entry in the Big Book, St. Peter furrows his brow and says, "Okay, we'll let you in, but take that cloth robe and wooden staff."

The preacher is astonished and replies, "But I am a man of the cloth. You gave that cab driver a gold staff and a silk robe. Surely I rate higher than a cabbie."

St. Peter responded matter-of-factly: "This is heaven and up here, we are interested in results. When you preached, people slept. When the cabbie drove his taxi, people prayed."

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Home for Crusaders?

I think I have found a home for those confessional crusaders who are still wringing their hands over contemporary worship. In Zach's letter (actually he wrote his letter in the bulletin) was the bulletin from the "Lutheran Services" held on the MCRD base in San Diego. It was right out of Luther's handbook. They had a nice prcessional and recessional as well as all the liturgy and some classic hymns. The bulletin cover even said "A Mighty Fortress" with a picture of the Wartburg on it. Based on the play book this chaplain did it all exactly right. Just trade in your CW for LBW and join the Marines and you too can be a part of true Lutheranism.

We have been studying Acts for bible study this year at church. Every single week as I read more I have to wonder what the crusaders are crusading for. Every week they sound more and more like the jews in the local synagogues that often wanted to stone Paul or such for their message. I'm not sure how one could read Acts and then Ephesians and still have such a narrow idea of personal ministry.

The First Letter

We got the first letter from Zach. He is doing really well it seems. His letter had a positive tone and his platoon is working hard to be the honor platoon. As you might expect from him he had extensive commentary on the food. It is decent sized helpings and reasonably ok but somewhat bland. He is actually trying to pick healthy food....this of course was a shocker. He even is eating fruit. If Zach can eat fruit the republicans can still win the election. However it would seem that in the time they have to talk amongst themselves, many of them fantasize about Taco Bell, frozen pizza, caffeine and video games. He mentioned how he has 7 seconds to get out of bed and up 5 feet to the line. Now in all the time I've known Z he has barely moved an eye muscle in 7 seconds not to mention get out of bed. So change is underfoot and Z is dealing with it. I was pretty happy to hear that. There is some pride in his accomplishments already. 10 weeks to go.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Great Friends

This last weekend We visited with some of our best friends from NH as we celebrated their daughter's wedding. It was a rainy weekend but thoroughly enjoyable. I can't remember laughing so hard in such a long time. It reminded me of the good old days. The food was endless, the wedding was perfect, and the hilarious conversations never ended. We'll probably be marking that one down as the best weekend of the year. Congratulations to Caitlin and Greg as well. They should get married frequently so we can have more great weekends like this last one.