Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea With Hezbollah, A Review

TeaWithHezbollah I don’t read a lot of non-fiction.  So when I do read a non-fiction work, it must have something special about it to make me finish.  Tea With Hezbollah, by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis, had that special something in it.  

I’m a Ted Dekker fan.  He writes great, action-packed thrillers time after time, and when I got an email from a publisher with this book for review, I immediately responded that I’d be interested.  From the onset the authors state that this book is not about religion and it’s not about politics, it’s about humanity.  They ponder if Jesus’ greatest teachings—to love God and to love your neighbor—are still applicable today.

Their plan was simple and built on a whim.  They would travel into the Middle East and meet with prominent leaders of Islam thought: muftis, sheikhs, ayatollahs, and others.  From leaders of non-violent protests to US deemed terrorists, from Arabic taxi drivers to Osama bin Laden’s brothers, Dekker and Medearis were granted intimate access to some of Islam’s most valuable minds.  They traveled across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Israel to make these meetings.

Their interviews were simple.  They brought out the humanity of the people, showing that they are real people not so unlike you and I.  Muslims believe Christ was a great prophet and that his words are important.  What, then, do they think of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan?  This was the driving question behind everything. 

I found the book fascinating.  The author’s fear was palpable on each page, questioning whether or not he would survive the trip.  The questions were intriguing and insightful.  “What makes you laugh?”  “What kind of car do you drive?”  “When was the last time you cried?”  The answers could just as easily have came from a neighbor or a friend.  “What’s the biggest misconception American’s have about Muslims?”  Vice versa.  These answers were always similar, that we American’s tend to distrust all Muslims, that we think they all are terrorists.

I felt challenged and sad after reading this book.  The label of Christian is a dirty and bloody one.  So is Jew.  So is Muslim.  All three of the Big Religions have a dark history filled with violence.  There has been just as much bloodshed by Christian hands in the Middle East as by any other group.  All in the name of God.  All in the name of Jesus, who told us to turn the other cheek and to love our neighbors, our enemies, as ourselves.

Tea With Hezbollah is an amazing, short read, topping out at just over 230 pages.  Along with an interesting and complex history lesson, you also get insight into another world of thought.  This is the kind of book I hope others read and take to heart.

That said, I was given an extra copy of Tea With Hezbollah to give away here on my blog.  If you would like to be eligible for this book, just send me an email (subject: TEA) or leave a comment saying so.  Make sure I have your email address so I can contact you if you win.  I’ll let the contest run until next Monday.  And tell your friends, if’n you want to and if’n you think they’d be interested.

You can purchase the book from Random House, here, as an e-book or hardcover.  It also is available at Amazon or your local bookstore.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House.

8 comments:

David Wagner said...

Man, great review. I probably wouldn't have given this title another thought if not for reading this. I'm not exactly a Dekker fan, though I'm not sure why any more...

By all means, enter me in the drawing. I'll add it to my (comparatively short) list of books to read soon...

By the way, I eat my grapefruit plain...

logankstewart said...

You got it, friend, even if you eat your grapefruit the sissy way. ;)

Not a Dekker fan? Most of his stuff I've really liked. Even Thr3e, though it was quite predictable. I'll actually be reviewing another Ted Dekker book here in the next week or two, hopefully.

logankstewart said...

*I guess by saying "you got it" could be misconstrued as you winning. I just meant that you're officially entered. Sorry if that was confusing.

David Wagner said...

I tried Heavenly Child and Three... that was enough Dekker for me... I found his writing to insult my intelligence... when a writer takes such pains to state things so obviously and clearly, leaving nothing to the imagination of the reader, or for him/her to piece together on his/her own, I feel condescended to.

At least, that was my opinion of those two books. I didn't feel entertained, I felt talked down to, like I was a simpleton. That was years ago... I should try him again... perhaps the problem is not with the writer/writing, but rather with me...

No confusion! I knew what you meant by "you got it"...

Death to Captcha!

logankstewart said...

Yeah, those were some of his first works. The Circle series is fantastic, and actually some of my favorite storytelling. Book One, Black, had me scratching my head for a while wondering what the heck was going on. I'd recommend giving Black a shot. It's available rather cheaply now, too, so you wouldn't be out much.

Brandon said...

Great Review Logan. I wish I had the time to read this...like so many books.

logankstewart said...

Brandon: Thank you. If you get some time and you want to read some non-fic, definitely check this out. Of course, if you find a way to actually get more time, be sure and let me know.

Brandon said...

Well, occasionally I've come across this magical wardrobe, but...it's rare.