Tea with Hezbolla: Sitting at the Enemies’ Table; Our Journey Through the Middle East was received by me a few weeks ago as a review project. Unfortunately, I have been unable to complete the assignment within the time constraints. I am greatly interested in the book and the subject matter that it considers (which is why I agreed to review it in the first place). I do plan to read and interact on this blog about it in the future, but I wanted to be faithful to my original commitment to provide the review as well. My solution came in the form of my youngest son, Joshua, who is an avid reader and a fan of Ted Dekker. Josh has reviewed several books on the icrucified blog and it was my pleasure to ask him to “help out his dear old dad” on this occasion. So, without further ado, here is Joshua’s review.
Tea With Hezbolla by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis [a review by Joshua Borden]
I have read Ted Dekker before, my favorite being The Circle Trilogy. When I started Tea with Hezbollah I went into it with the mindset that it was probably going to be like that… It was anything but. To begin, Tea with Hezbollah is an actual recounting of Ted Dekker’s and Carl Medearis’ journey through the Middle East as they talked to the top ideologues and leaders of the various militant and Muslim factions. Their main reason was to see if Jesus’ famous teaching about loving your enemy was really possible and to see what Middle Easterner’s thought about it. They were also looking for a modern day “Good Samaritan.”
I admit that I started the book with the preconceived notions of a naïve 14 year old about the Middle East and the various military factions. Throughout the book both I and Ted went through a very thorough change of mindset. The authors gave the reader the actual transcripts from conversations of what people said to them, from the common taxi driver to the Bin Laden brothers. They met with people that we as Americans believe are only out to kill us and our Israeli allies, while in reality the Middle Easterners only pick up arms when it is necessary. Many of them are just common everyday people who want to make a difference and fight for their right to have their country back and Israel removed. We, as Americans, don’t see all the pain and suffering that the Palestinians are forced to endure on a regular basis, never knowing whether or not they’ll be alive the next day. Being a “Christian” in the Middle East is more of a political affiliation than anything, especially seeing how the “Christians” do just as much damage and killing as anyone else. The leaders of the Hezbollah, whom many would call terrorists out to kill and maim as many as possible, are quite possibly one of the most humane groups in the Middle East. Their primary intent and purpose is to help and provide services to the people in Lebanon, and to provide security and as much peace of mind as is possible in the Middle East. If you felt that some entity or country was trying to takeover and ignore your rights, wouldn’t you resist them in any way you could when they came? Insights like this and many more into the truth of the Middle East really changed how I think about the whole situation.
This book was great and I hope it will change your preconceptions as much as it did mine. It makes very hard ideas a little easier to swallow. My notions and ideas were changed by the time I finished this book and it happened without me even realizing it until I had finished and was writing this review. Tea with Hezbollah takes you on a journey that I hope will allow you to love your enemies in your own life.
Tea with Hezbolla is a book provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
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.
Ted Dekker is the author of many nationally bestselling novels, including Bone Man’s Daughters, The Circle Trilogy, Thr3e, and House, which was coauthored by Frank Peretti. His unique style of storytelling has captured the attention of millions worldwide. Visit him at TedDekker.com.
Carl Medearis is the founder and president of International Initiatives, LLC, an organization that promotes cultural, educational, and commercial exchange between the East and the West. He is an advisor on Arab affairs to the members of the U.S. Congress and leaders in international business.