January 25, 2010

Tea with Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis

Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table, Our Journey through the Middle East is Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis's account of their trip to the Middle East in 2008. They were in search of one thing: to find out if it's possible to love your enemies, as illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Dekker and Medearis are able to sit down with leaders and everyday folks, all who are known for their anti-American stand. Several of the transcripts are laid out for us in part or in whole. Along with these interactions and Dekker's observations of his own uneasiness on this trip, is the story of Nicole.

Nicole's story is the heart of the book--and I believe--should have been a book itself. Nicole is a college-aged girl who finds out that her father isn't who she thinks he is, but her mother's mysterious lover from her days in Lebanon. While I thought the rest of the book was just so-so, I couldn't wait to get to another chapter of Nicole's story.

I've read several books on the Middle East, some that are in similar memoir style. To me, this one simply does not stack up. It's choppy and repetitive: most of the interviews have similar questions. It seems like it might have been better to have compiled them, or at least done something more than give the transcriptions. And as a Christian, I felt like Ted Dekker could have done more to highlight the hope of the Gospel for the peoples in the Middle East.

If you're interested in a memoir on the Middle East, I still highly recommend From Beirut to Jeruselem by Thomas Friedman. It may be a bit dated, but it still is incredibly relevant for the conflicts still going on today.

I received a free review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

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