Amazon.com link for Tea With Hezbollah
Is it really possible to love one’s enemies?
That’s the question that sparked a fascinating and, at times, terrifying journey into the heart of the Middle East during the summer of 2008. It was a trip that began in Egypt, passed beneath the steel and glass high rises of Saudi Arabia, then wound through the bullet-pocked alleyways of Beirut and dusty streets of Damascus, before ending at the cradle of the world’s three major religions: Jerusalem.
The premise of the book is based on the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10) in which Jesus taught to love your neighbor as yourself and the verse (Matthew 5:44) to love your enemies. Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis journeyed to the Middle East to the sit down with both Muslim leaders and ordinary Muslims to find out what they thought about this specific teaching of Jesus.
Tea With Hezbollah starts out very strong. Ted Dekker’s writing is a pleasure to read with his clever dialog and his reaction to Carl Medearis’ idea to travel to one of the most dangerous parts of the world. There is some history of the area and descriptions of the sights and smells as they travel from the least dangerous to the most dangerous locations to meet with individuals. They asked them simple questions:
• What is the greatest misunderstanding Americans have of Arabs?
• And Arabs’ greatest misunderstanding of Americans?
• What makes you cry?
• What makes you laugh?
• What kind of car do you drive?
• Do you believe we should love our enemies as Jesus teaches?
I thought that some of the questions asked were superficial and tedious for what could have been an important dialog. They frequently ask the Muslims to tell a joke. The humor did not translate well. Actually, not at all. Once the important questions were asked about Jesus’ teaching, there was little or no follow-up to dig deeper into the minds of our enemies.
There were several instances of comments made about Jesus and Christians by the authors that were very disparaging. As an excerpt for this:“ We are both Christian. We both cringe at being called Christian, because in both of our worlds, Christians are the bad guys who either slaughter civilians or destroy civilization in the name of God.”
There was a side story about a woman named Nicole that was interjected throughout the book which may have been interesting if it had not been chopped up almost as space filler.
I thought the book was good – but not great.
Reader copy provided by WaterBrook Mulnomah Publishing Group