Is it really possible to love your enemies? That is the question that surrounds this book and leads the authors into the hear of the Middle East in Summer 2008. This is a trip that began in Egypt, to Saudi Arabia, and Beirut, before ending at the cradle of the world’s three major religions: Jerusalem.
Ted Dekker tells his side of this amazing true story through the eyes of a first timer into this country. Carl Medearis tells it from the side of a repeat visitor who had even been arrested and held in jail in the country on previous entrances in this country.
From late night border crossings to hair-raising taxi rides, and back room meetings, follow the story of these two men as they seek permission to talk to – and are granted permission to such people as Hezbollah Leaders,sheikhs, muftis, and even Osama bin Laden’s brothers who tell you first hand, they don’t like their brother much.
Finding the answers come from heartfelt interviews, surprising revaluation, and at times, life threatening situations, all to work towards the heart of this relationship we have – or more accurately – lack their of… with the middle east.
Imagine, going into a country that in many ways does not approve of Americans, or at least that is what many of us think. The country is at war, it is not necessarily a safe journey – yet you feel called to do it.
Jesus says in Matthew 22:
36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? I think of my neighbors. Sure we wave at each other as we go by, or occasionally chat about gardening or weather, but love them as myself?
And really, if you take this text to what that means… doesn’t it mean to love all people as ourselves? That is a heavy request. And that is what Ted and Carl go to find out. What does that mean in the midst of war? Is that even possible?
I was engrossed in this true story of the authors adventures into the middle east, and the interviews that revolved around this trip. This audio is told from the authors perspectives, however the interviews, are word for word as told by the interviewed, and that I have to say was down right fascinating.
The interviews were the best part of the audio.
Unfortunately the reading falls short of hitting an excellent or even very good mark from me. I would say it was definitely good, and interesting, but it felt as though a goal was set, even implied in the synopsis, and I didn’t find it to have been reached. There is a fiction story that weaves itself among the pages, entwined throughout the book and is working towards I believe, a common thread to tie this whole read together. In some ways it works, it is definitely interesting, but in other ways I find it sad that this particular thread was not actually found as truth through all the interviews and traveling done in the book. That may have reached me in a stronger way. My take away is mainly what I already knew and what I strive to do anyway, and it is love everyone as myself, do not judge other people, and try to always put love and grace before all else. I don’t always succeed… but for the most part, living this way gives me a great peace knowing that in most situations, I have done all that I can to show love and grace and at that point, any disagreements or differences are off me.
My aunts often refer to me when there is conflict in the family and someone wants to know my thoughts as “Oh Sheila? Sheila gets along with everyone!”
I like that. 🙂
I am not passive, I can clearly speak my opinion and then let it go. Life is too short to live angry.
If you are interested in the middle east, the Biblical teaching of Love Your Neighbor’s As Yourself, or even what those interviewed had to say, I would say read this book or listen to the audio (which, yes, was narrated well by George Wilson.)
Why I listened to this book: I have read and enjoyed Dekker’s non fiction through the years. The last few years I have found his writing to become darker and I do not enjoy it as much as I once did. Besides the three reasons I listed above being true for me as reasons to read this book, I also wanted to know what Dekker would do with non fiction.
Here are a few other opinions by awesome bloggers:
For weekend cooking, I had stumbled across this little jewel on Pinterest yesterday and knew I had to make these:
What a great idea and what a great go along for a book about tea! I got a late start on making these, but I am giving you a recipe for the shortbread cookie in case you have any ideas… as I brainstormed I thought these could also by used for luggage tags , perhaps for a traveling get together, room keys, baby showers with its a girl r its a boy tags, and I even have an idea for my book club on Tuesday but you will have to wait until Wednesday when I put up our review to see what I came up with 🙂
2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
I am using melted Ghiradhelli chocolate chips, but you can use semi sweet chocolate or whatever you prefer.
Preheat over to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and stir. Add flour and mix well. Roll out onto a lightly floured counter top. I used a cut out using cardboard to get the tea bag shape and then poked a hole in the cookie shape using a toothpick but making it big enough so it does not bake closed. Mine are still in the process of being made so I do not have a finished product yet, but will show you once I do 🙂
Bake 10-12 minutes, watching closely at that 9 minute mark to make sure the cookies do not get too dark. Let cool, then run string through the hole and add your tags. Fun!
Be sure to connect with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads to see what other people are cooking this weekend! 😀
I purchased this audio from audible.com