Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: Tea With Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

When I first began reading Tea With Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis, my decision was to enter the reading with an open heart and mind. And really, I was interested in seeing how the book's echoing question -- "Is it really possible to love one's enemies?" -- might be answered.

Tea With Hezbollah is written mostly from a first-person viewpoint, that person being Ted Dekker (later on the chapters alternate between Dekker's accounts and a seven-part story about a young woman named Nicole). What I liked was the way the author showed his vulnerabilities. Here he was, a well-traveled author, visiting some of the most dangerous wartime territories one might imagine -- all to speak with leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas, with sheiks, even with Osama bin Laden's own brothers concerning Jesus' command to love our enemies. But instead of simply giving an account of the interviews and conversations, Dekker allows the reader to see that, yes, he is frightened. He is afraid he might die at any moment, and imagines movie-like scenes happening before meeting with some of these men.

For those like myself, there are an ample number of history lessons on the Middle East. In the back of the book there is a detailed glossary with terms such as 'Hezbollah' (and yes, I had to look it up as I was basically clueless), and there is also a timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. At times I did get a bit lost in the history and wanted more of what Dekker and Medearis were experiencing, but I can see that it's all essential to the story.

As a Christian, I have to say I was surprised -- pleasantly at times -- to read answers to the interview questions. They were simple questions about basic humanity ("What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?") and the teachings of Jesus. I would say that anyone in America who thinks they might know something about Hezbollah and others in the Middle East might find themselves surprised as well. One of my favorite answers to "What makes you cry?" was given by Sheik Nabil Qaouk, the 'number-two man in Hezbollah.' He answered, "Every time I pray to God I cry."

To learn more about or to purchase this book, click here.

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