Contend Earnestly: Tea With Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table

Monday, February 01, 2010

Tea With Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table

The book, Tea With Hezbollah, was quite interesting and different than I thought. I wasn't sure really what to expect, and what I found was both very well done and disappointing as well. The reason I say disappointing is that I thought the book was written by both Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis, when in reality, it was only written by Dekker. This was both informative and lacking. Here is what I mean.

The book is set up as the story of the journey of New York Times best selling author Ted Dekker and the most official title you'll ever get out of Carl Medearis, which is "Mr. Carl." Carl is actually the most prominant Western White "Christian" (better referenced as a follower of Jesus) to ever build bridges and share the life and ministry of Jesus to the insides of the most dangerous places on earth for most Christians to go. The journey for these two is to go to those that are considered the enemies of the United States and sit down and try and show their humanity through "People Magazine" type questions and then ask them on their thoughts on Jesus' command for us to love our enemies. The idea was for them to see if they could find "the Good Samaritan" living today. The list of who they actually sit down with is quite astonishing (some names so high up that they had to be changed for safety reasons):

Abdul Fadeel Al Kusi (head of Al Azhar University in Egypt)
A colonel in the Saudi Arabian army
Hussein Shobokshi (an influential media personality Saudi Arabia)
Two of Osama bin Laden's brothers
Sheik Muhammad Yamani (minister of information in Saudi Arabia and in charge of making Islamic law)
Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah (regarded by many to be Hezbollah's spiritual leader)
A Bedouin Prince
Two Lebanese Hezbollah Fighters
Hezbollah Sheik Nabil Qaouk
Mufti Abdul Fattah Al Bizem (Damascus Mufti who significantly influences the interpretation of Islamic law throughout entire region)
Sheik Ekrima Sa'id Sabri (Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, appointed by Yasser Arafat)
Sami Awad (to most a modern day "Christian" Gandhi in Bethlehem)
A top leader in the Hamas.

The questions that were shown in the book were things like:

What makes you laugh?
What is your favorite joke?
When was the last time you cried?
What are Americans wrong perceptions of Muslims?
What are Muslims wrong perceptions of Americans?
What do you think of Jesus' teaching of loving our enemies?
and more, depending on the interview

Now, the reason I say that I was disappointed that much of the perspective of Carl Medearis wasn't given is that the depth of the conversation just wasn't there. The purpose of the book, however, was to put a face and personality with these people we call our enemies. For the most part, they are our enemies as a country and politics, but for my personal convictions, they are not my personal enemies in any way.

I believe if Medearis co-authored the book, we might have received more in depth information on the spiritual insights that were discussed. But, this doesn't mean the book was a wash, it just wasn't completely what I was expecting. Ted Dekker is a great author and this book was one that I read in three days as Dekker made it easy to connect to as he referenced his fears and troubling thoughts as he was embarking on these journeys to places where literally no Christian had been in years. Not only is the reader given insight to the conversations that took place, but Dekker puts together mini history lessons for each place and person that they are going to interview, which was very helpful in putting more than merely a name and "pin in a map" before going into the interview.

Overall I liked the book. I think it will be very helpful in breaking down some walls with those we consider our enemies. Our enemies' personalities are brought out so that we can grow to understand and love them and try to carry out the most rebellious command ever given to us: love, bless and pray for our enemies.

If one is hoping to get more in depth understanding of Islam, this book isn't for you. If one is hoping to see Muslims and Christians speak about Jesus, this book has very little to offer. For both of those I would highly recommend Medearis' book, "Muslims, Christians and Jesus" or Siljander's book, "A Deadly Misunderstanding." But, if you desire to learn more about those that the United States has on terrorist lists and you desire to love and pray for them, this is a great book to start with.

Also, the follow up event to this book called, "Why Do You Fear Me?" has their video up from the event, which I highly recommend to hear some amazing stories on what is happening around the Muslim world.

I highly Recommend this book.

Link to Buy:


tallmanwriting said...

Ted Dekker is a much bigger name. It's kind of surprising that the other fella got his name on the cover at all.

More than half of the books in America are ghostwritten, nonfiction included, so the old saying "you can't judge a book by its cover" is definitely true. Similarly, you can't judge authorship by the name on the cover.

Robert Ludlum (Bourne Identity) died almost a decade ago, but he's still pumping out books!

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