Friday, September 30, 2011

Jungle Warfare: A Basic Field Manual for Christians in Sales

By Christopher A. Cunningham,, 209 pages.

Jungle Warfare, which can be read by everyone and not only salespeople, evokes the ancient Christian belief that the spiritual life is a life of warfare. Good and evil have opposed each other since the beginning, and Christ has already won the battle. As his followers, we have chosen the winning side, but the battle in this world, mysteriously, continues.

Every day is a battle. Cunningham warns that, like the soldiers fighting WWII in the jungle, we must be prepared and vigilant at all times. The enemy can spring up at any time, and if we are out of shape or unfocused he can easily defeat us. We are as strong as we think. Our strength comes from being prepared ahead of time through Christ.

The author warns, "you also battle a deadly spiritual enemy who prowls around like a jungle cat wishing he could devour your soul. He and his commandos lie in wait, scheming and plotting about how they can throw anything in your path that will not only destroy your career but also your reputation, relationships, and rewards."

Just as Christ battled evil in the world, so we must do spiritual battle with the Lord on our side. But the biggest war is within, just as it is for the soldier in the jungle, where he confronts dehydration, terrible insects, cramps from insufficient salt intake, dirty water, and his own self-doubt and disorganization. Staying fit and focused are the most important ingredients to success.

Wisely, the author closely links the fear of God with the sense of sin. The world, even the Christian world, has lost this sense, while simultaneously losing the awe, reverence, and worship of God that we can call the fear of God. God has become a big fluffy plaything who makes us feel better and justifies our actions and politics, whereas each human has become the sum total of her emotions. When we talk about God, we tend to discuss how God makes us feel better and gives in to our wishes.

Jungle Warfare offers no such God, largely because the Bible offers no such God. Instead, Scripture teaches us a much more militia Christi, spiritual warfare-type of Christian living that places us in the midst of something much more important than our ever-changing sentiments. Cunningham offers readers a Biblical spirituality.

The following words on the spiritual life, then, do not get overly wrapped up in emotions, and instead point us towards a Christ-centered rather than me-and-my-feelings-centered life: "I feel the presence of God's Holy Spirit as He leads me through the jungle in the presence of my enemies. When I go at it alone, I get lost. I start battling man, nature, and spirit -- and I usually get into trouble."

In other words, the feelings-centered approach is exactly what not to cultivate in the spiritual life, because we cannot really trust ourselves. Our sinfulness, which can act through our emotions, can easily lead us astray.

The Bible, Cunningham argues, has a battle plan for us to use in our spiritual battle. We must be ever ready to confront the enemy within and the enemy in the world.

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