Making Friends Among the Taliban

Making Friends Among the Taliban by Jonathan P. Larson
A Peacemaker's Journey in Afghanistan

The characters and responses between this story and the story of The Boys Kings of Texas stand in stark contrast. In "Boy Kings", the author is surrounded by dysfunctions, abuse, and hopelessness. The things entrap him and plague him through his adult life. In the story of Dan Terry, a peacemaker in Afghanistan, he grows up in dysfunction, war, and hopelessness as a son of missionaries in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Instead of this cursing his life and causing him to flee, Dan Terry falls in love with these places and commits his life to bringing light and hope.

The life of Dan Terry stirs a flame deep within me - maybe it is because he liked to hike and climb mountains. Or maybe it is because he thrived when he was solving a problem. Or maybe it is because he loved hanging out with the marginalized of the world. Or maybe it is the way he did "Jesus-styled" ministry, walking as Jesus walked. I love his story. Here are few notes from the book:
  • pg. 66 - "The ultimate affirmation of the goodness and appeal of this moniker (Pagal - crazy) came when a circle of war-weary Afghans in the central highlands proposed the formation of an informal society around the notion. Not surprisingly, Dantri held office in it for many years. Its name? The Hezb-i-Pagal: the "Party of Crazies." The sole condition of membership is a mad pledge to seek the good of the community and to disavow fighting and corruption. With a measure of whimsy, it runs counter to a political life often based on religious zealotry or ethnic interest that has yielded only a harvest of suffering."
  • pg. 119 - the silent throng of mourners at Dan's memorial service is testimony to a life well lived.
This book forces us to ponder the idea of what it might look like to love our enemies, the Taliban, as Jesus commanded.


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