Several years ago, I dreamed up an idea to counter the misinformation routinely propagated about Arabs in general, and Muslims in particular. Some of you asked about the state of the project last week at the DC reunion, and reiterated how badly it was needed. Others asked my parents about it the week before at a Waco, Texas reunion for retired ME missionaries. Because of the interest, I have purchased a virtual “store front” just in case I can figure out how to get this thing started:
The name is sort of an inside joke for missionaries and MKs (or “mishkids”) who endured endless “mission meetings” (planning and business meetings). It also conveys the idea that this project’s mission is to allow web site visitors to “meet” real people of the Middle East from the points of view of Americans who actually lived and worked among them.
Hopefully, the perspective of unimpeachable (e.g., American + Christian) eyewitnesses will be difficult to reconcile with the hatemongering prevalent in America’s post-911 culture and especially among Christians and Jews preoccupied with end-times silliness and pop-preaching that suggests Israel is always right and Arabs/Muslims are always evil. A little cognitive dissonance might be all that’s needed to erode the foundations of a simplistic “us versus them” world view.
If nothing else, “Mission: Meeting” is to be a historical/academic archive where the thousands (perhaps millions) of photographs and letters and stories by missionaries from the last two centuries can be preserved and catalogued before they are lost forever. It is NOT intended to be a religious/evangelism effort, nor is it to have an overt political agenda. If anyone has any ideas as to how to set up and finance a non-profit operation like this, I’m open to suggestions…