Ted Dekker has been, and I imagine will be for some time, one of my favorite authors since I was introduced to his writing at a youth camp as an intern by the camp worship leader for the week Todd Agnew. I first dove into Elyon’s waters with the Circle Series and progressed through the Books Of History into the Paradise stories. I’ve found myself getting lost in the fictional worlds that Dekker creates through pen and ink.
Possibly just as captivating as heading out on an adventure with Thomas Hunter and the forest guard are Dekker’s non-fictional stories of his life. Not long ago Dekker describes much of his young life in his first non-fiction work entitled The Slumber Of Christianity. It was here that Dekker’s readers began to draw closer to the author they had come to know and love as a great craftsman of story.
In Dekker’s newest non-fiction work,Tea With Hezbollah traces the journey of Ted and his friend, and coauthor, Carl Medearis as they travel through the Middle East to areas such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, Baalbek, Southern Lebanon, Syria, and Jerusalem, to meet with the men who would by most Westerners considered enemies, terrorists, and worse - and ask the question: “What do you think of Jesus teaching that we should love our enemies?”
This journey has it’s twists and turns, but tries very hard to stay focused on the task at hand. Dekker and Medearis meet with members of the Hezbollah, the Hamas, and even two bin Laden brothers. Yes, as in Osama bin Laden. The conversations are always had over a cup of tea and warm welcoming smiles. The are given, with one noted exception, verbatim and transcribed in the book in order that these men may speak for themselves with the things that they speak and the things they remain silent about.
Dekker’s purpose is not to push an agenda, spiritual, religious, political or the like. He stays simple with the questions and simple with the fact that he wants the reader to draw his or her own conclusions from the conversations.
Dekker writes with as much creativity and passion as one will find in any of his fiction novels and the true storyteller in him cannot resist to include another true story not his own of a girl named Nicole trying to find her true father in the midst of a hard past and many sacrifices made for the truth.
Tea With Hezbollah is well written. My only criticism is that at times the story seems very repetitive. It begins to lose a bit of it’s luster and it’s at this point Dekker brings in the story of Nicole to tie the reader over to the next chapter. I will say that overall it kept my attention and I read the whole thing in one sitting.
A nice touch for the uninformed reader is a glossary of terms in the back of the book that include many common words used throughout the book when referring to all things “middle east”. This includes definitions for Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim, Mosque, etc.
I’d give this book 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars. It’s a good read and many accounts of the conversations are challenging. If you’re looking for the excitement of Thomas Hunter and the Forest Guard in a fierce battle against the Horde this book may not be what you’re looking for. However, if you are intent on digging deeper into a possibly misunderstood world in order to answer the question “Will love prevail?”… your journey may begin here.