Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: Jungle Warfare by Christopher A. Cunningham

In Jungle Warfare, Christopher Cunningham mentions that his grandfather fought in the Pacific during World War II. Upon his passing in 1988, Cunningham received his grandfather's old army issue of "The Basic Field Manual on Jungle Warfare" dated December 15, 1941. He uses that issue as a springboard for a series of 22 devotionals which he refers to as a basic field manuals for Christians in sales.

As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I know how precious family memorabilia from that era can be. I certainly understand Cunningham's desire to share gleanings from his father's field manual with the world in some fashion, especially by from it drawing parallels to the Christian's spiritual battle to be righteous in his business dealings. The resulting devotionals weren't exactly the book for me, but I do think that someone of another temperament and in another business setting might enjoy it much more than I did.

Here's my subjective view of the pros and cons of Jungle Warfare:


1) While the Bible makes it clear that the Christian is engaged in a spiritual battle, I am not a fan of overly stretching analogies from books about physical warfare to our spiritual war. I'm also not a fan of applying principles of combat to business. 2 Corinthians 10:4 reminds us that we fight with spiritual weapons, not physical ones. In fact, Jesus teaches us to live by a different code than the world and its armies live by: we are to love our enemies; to turn the other cheek; to go the extra mile; to seek God's kingdom first; etc. In terms of physical warfare, there is evidence early Christians did not participate in war, and one could make a very good case that Christians should not take up arms today. Therefore, a field guide of jungle warfare might not make our best source of advice for drawing up our daily strategy.
2) Some of the analogies drawn from the book seem forced to fit the theme and format of the book. There is a warning about jungle ants taken from his grandfather's books. The following material in the devotional contains some good advice and a scripture, but I'm not sure that the section has a logical connection.

1) Mr. Cunningham does avoid some of the pitfalls that associate either business or a Christian's spiritual battle with physical combat. He does include a lot of material reminding us that our spiritual goals are most important. So, even while I am not personally a fan of this particular format, I think he does a good job keeping it balanced.
2) I think this book would be particularly motivating to a man who is the main breadwinner of the family, or to a single mother who is carrying the main load. Mr. Cunningham offers helpful scriptures and thoughts for staying motivated, even when it might be easy to become discouraged.

I received this book through the Book Sneeze program. My opinions are my own.


Thirty Days of Gratitude in the Home -- Day 9

Thankfulness is a house full of guests for Christmas. Thankfulness is being able to set up a skype connection with dear children who were with in-laws in other towns for Christmas. Thankfulness is being able to connect with other children by phone on the day.

Thankfulness is a really, truly white Christmas. I'm not sure if I've experienced one before or not, though I have seen snow somewhere around Christmas time. Of course, when I was proud of our quarter inch of snow, my son-in-law laughed and opened his front door to show me, via skype, the six inches of Chicago's white Christmas. But, if you have enough white to make things look like a post card, it's a bona fide white Christmas!!

But, the deepest thankfulness is the wonder that God really poured his splendor into the womb of a young virgin in Israel roughly 2,000 years ago and, thus, He brought Jesus, into the world. Immanuel, one of His names, really is God with us, come from heaven to experience a human life, only without sin.

Just thinking about that is food for hours of contemplation and prayer and thankfulness, as well as motivation to be there with others, as Jesus is with us.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

30 days of gratitude in the home....

A reason for gratitude is my new desk in a corner of my beloved hubby's home office. We had two different work spaces in two different rooms, which meant that we couldn't talk to each other or see each other if each of us was working. So, my dearest got the idea to clean out his office, move a desk over into a nook for me, re-position a love seat for us to enjoy sitting on to watch a movie or listen to music, and to paint. My husband is wonderful, but urges to decorate strike me much more often than they strike him. (Would I be exaggerating if I said that he might have been bitten by the decorating bug maybe twice in our thirty year marriage? Hmm...I can't remember exactly. That, in itself, should tell you something.) So, I was most thankful indeed when he came up with this wonderful suggestion.

So, while most normal people have been shopping and decorating for Christmas, we've been re-arranging and painting and decorating work spaces. I will post a photo of my desk soon.
My craft stuff is still in another area, but I do love my new writing/home management center. Most of all, I love my new office mate. :)

Now to catch up on the season...


Sunday, December 05, 2010

30 Days of Gratitude


I've been busy making memories for which to be grateful and have neglected my blog lately. I hope y'all have been having wonderful Thanksgiving times, as well.

This year, we had all our children and children-in-law at home for Thanksgiving. Since we now share holiday times with in-laws, we alternate between Thanksgiving and Christmas as being the time when we have everyone under one roof.

Thanksgiving is my daughter's favorite holiday. She actually prefers it to Christmas. So, I work hard to keep our Thanksgivings focused on a traditional Thanksgiving celebration and wait start Christmas preparations until after our family Thanksgiving celebrations are over.

It seems that Thanksgiving gets pushed aside these days. Many of our neighbors decorate for Christmas well before Thanksgiving day arrives, and I confess to letting that make me feel a little anxious that I need to be keeping up with the rush. However, our daughter's love of Thanksgiving reminds me of what a wonderful holiday that it is in its own right.

Most of us enjoy November and December because of the extra opportunities we have to spend time with our families. This is especially true if we have loved ones who live far from us and who can be brought nearer via holiday travel. Yet, as much as our culture celebrates holiday togetherness, it also recognizes the pain of family tensions that can arise during holidays. There are a number of comic movies that derive their humor from the depressing failure a particular family encounters when it falls short of holiday expectations.

Just as many holiday recipes depend on a secret ingredient for flavor and sweetness, there is a secret ingredient that can ease any holiday disappointment, lessen any family conflict, and reduce any unexpected feelings of December blues or loneliness.

That ingredient is gratitude. If every member of the family maintains a thankful spirit, everyone will enjoy each other no matter what little annoyances might arise. Family members will have no motivation to quarrel over selfish wishes. Even if things do not go as each one might wish, each person will be grateful for the important things: family, love, faith, and time together.

Gratitude is like a sweet, fragrant oil. Applied liberally, it helps the "gears" of the household turn smoothly, without catches, groans, or friction. Best of all, this essential oil is free and if the bottle should run empty, you can always fill it up again.