Ted and Carl take the readers on a journey through the Middle East in search of the good Samaritan. Can enemies truly love each other as Jesus commanded? Can we put aside our differences in politics, religion, lifestyle and background long enough to see each other as real people, people who laugh and cry, work hard for their families, and hold tightly to what they cherish? This is not a book about politics, religion, right or wrong. Rather, it's a diary of sorts, a log of their travels through this often misunderstood part of the world. I also read it as a call to every man and woman to examine themselves - if we were to stumble upon an enemy of the United States, our enemy, near death, in need of care, would we show compassion and love, or would we walk away, ignoring the needs of a dying man?
Eileen K Parsons, author, "The First Rose of Summer"
As a big fan of Dekker's fiction, I thought I'd read this non fiction account of his travels in the middle east. Or, should I say, his account of Arab apologists airing their disagreements with "Zionists" and "Bush" and the "American Government" Oh, we love the American people, the terrorists tell Dekker, who says he is Canadian. "It's their government and the Zionists we don't like." Since unlike the dictatorships in the middle East, Americans and Israel actually vote for their leaders, I guess we vote for evil Jew lovers and Arab haters. Dekker and Medearis go as far as to distance themselves from the term "Christian". If they are so ashamed of being labeled Christians and westerners, perhaps we shouldn't buy their books. Oh, and the book isn't all non-fiction. The story about Nicole is a made up parable that would never actually occur as written, but what do I know, I'm an evil Christian Zionist.
Tea with Hezbollah is a fresh new perspective on the conflict in the Middle East. It is not a book about politics or military agenda, it is in fact far from that. This book takes you right into the homes and lives of many middle eastern leaders that have never been heard from before and finds out who they are, not as religious and militant leaders, but who they are as people. As fathers and husbands, as grandfathers and as friends. We learn what makes them laugh, what makes them cry. They share their frustrations and their fears.I appreciated that the interviews are shared in this book as direct conversation, written down exactly as they were recorded. They are done this way so that there is no mis-interpretation and nothing can be taken out of context. However, the book is not a dry account of interviews. The interview pieces are surrounded with story. Author Ted Dekker recounts his travels through the Middle East with his friend Carl Medearis in a way that is honest, fearful and at times quite funny. He intertwines stories of characters they meet along the way and leaves you with a sense that you almost understand and are a part of his amazing journey and experience.I would recommend this book to all Americans as a fresh new perspective on the conflicts in the Middle East. It will leave you wondering how to answer the question that Ted asked each of his interviewees, "Jesus said Love your neighbor as yourself and love your enemies. What does that mean to you?"This book was provided to me for review by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
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. This book was provided to me by the publisher to review.