Jan 282010
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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.

Tea with Hezbollah combines nail-biting narrative with the texture of rich historical background, as readers join novelist Ted Dekker and his co-author and Middle East expert, Carl Medearis, on a hair-raising journey. They are with them in every rocky cab ride, late-night border crossing, and back-room conversation as they sit down one-on-one with some of the most notorious leaders of the Arab world. These candid discussions with leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas, with muftis, sheikhs, and ayatollahs, with Osama bin Laden’s brothers, reveal these men to be real people with emotions, fears, and hopes of their own. Along the way, Dekker and Medearis discover surprising answers and even more surprising questions that they could not have anticipated—questions that lead straight to the heart of Middle Eastern conflict.

Through powerful narrative Tea With Hezbollah will draw the West into a completely fresh understanding of those we call our enemies and the teaching that dares us to love them. A must read for all who see the looming threat rising in the Middle East.

My thoughts:

I have thoroughly enjoyed Tea with Hezbollah and have found it interesting, thought-provoking, and entertaining. The whole concept of interviewing our "enemies" was unique, and the responses of the various Muslim clergy and laypeople were insightful. I appreciated what I believe was the authors’ intention to help us to see the humanity on both sides of the conflict. I must confess that the information that I know about the conflicts in the Middle East is rather one-sided. So I have definitely been thinking about how I should filter information from all the different sources like the media, government, and religious leaders. The book tells the story of the authors’ journey without really sharing their opinions, and Dekker admitted that he was pulled in different directions depending on who he was talking to and where he was. I can definitely see his point.

One thing that I have found troubling is the author’s contention that the greatest teaching of Jesus was to love your neighbor. He does mention that the greatest commandment is to love God and that is followed by loving your neighbor, but that still leaves a gaping hole in the teachings of Christ. The Muslims all talked about how we could live in unity and peace since we were worshiping the same God. They said that Jesus was a great prophet and that they believe in following His teachings. But they’re neglecting some crucial teachings of Christ. What about "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 14:6 ? What about His death, burial, and resurrection? We can’t have unity with Muslims over these issues because they reject Christ as the Son of God and deny His resurrection.

In spite of these disagreements, I still recommend reading this book. I have been given an extra copy from the publisher to give away. If you are interested in winning a copy, please leave a comment. I will pick a random winner on February 5th. I’m sorry, but I can mail to a U.S. address only. CONTEST CLOSED.

To learn more about Tea with Hezbollah, visit Random House.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.I was not compensated for this review.
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  4 Responses to “Tea with Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis”

  1. Thanks for your review. Living where I live and knowing what I know I have to agree with your summary. Five times a day from the mosque I hear the call to prayer which includes the phrase, "There is no god but Allah and Allah has no son" which is in direct conflict with scriptures in both the Hebrew and Greek testaments. The person that English speakers know as Jesus, who willingly died for all mankind and rose again and lives forever more is not the same as the 'Issa' of Islam who never actually died. The Arabic for 'Jesus' is Yesua or Yahasua.

    There is a trend in the humanistic way of thinking to see everyone as the same and to say that everyone is a child of God but sadly, in humanity we are equal but in Heritage, only those who receive Him and call on His Name He gave the right to be called children of God. John 1:12

    Edited to say I am not leaving a comment to be part of the competition 🙂

    Edited by short on Jan. 29, 2010 at 5:09 AM

  2. This book looks intriguing! I'd like to join the giveaway.

    ~Bekah H. (chsurfing@gmail.com)

  3. Yes, that troubled me about the book. I believe that the differences between those who follow Jesus and those who follow Allah will always separate us. This is why Christians, Jews, and Muslims cannot just all live in peace worshiping the same God. We do not worship the same God. We each believe differently about our God; our Scriptures even teach differently. Because we do not believe the same, then loving each other and living peacefully becomes difficult. I also agree that the book gave plenty of room for reflection and was very interesting and worth reading.

    Please do NOT consider this comment an entry in your giveaway, though. 🙂

  4. As I was reading your review, I was already planning to check and see if my library had a copy. Then I saw that you were having a giveaway. So please consider this comment as an entry. :o)

    Nicole in MD

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