I was talking with Intersection member Dean Phelps today, and he brought up something I've been meaning to write about.

When I began attending a Disciples congregation back in 1997, I didn't know much about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The more that I began to like the local congregation I was a part of, the more I wondered, "what does the denomination believe?" I would have hated to join the church, only to find myself at irreconcilable odds with some major piece of doctrine. So I started poking around on the web and asking my pastor and others where I could find information.

Pretty quickly, someone pointed me in the direction of DOCDISC - an email listserv (cutting edge stuff, back then) where Disciples (and a few non-Disciples) could talk. DOCDISC was, for me, a gold mine of information and a perfect way to learn. Sometimes, the discussions were heated, but that was alright. It helped me learn what the hot-button issues were, and I don't mind a little debating, even arguing, as long as it doesn't get personal. [And besides, I learned, some of our founders were fond of arguing too].

One of the coolest things, looking back, was that the people on there were just people. Several of them, I later found out, were presidents of general units. Many were pastors, and the rest were highly engaged laypeople. And yet, I don't ever remember a time when these folks were not willing to be helpful or answer a basic 'newbie" question.

While I could probably have learned about the denomination through reading and researching, for me, the best way to learn is from other people. It's messier that way - you don't always get the exact answer you're looking for, and sometimes someone even challenges the question you're asking. But beauty of it was the connection of a community of helpful and engaging people to the information itself.

I don't know what happened to DOCDISC - I unsubscribed when I began seminary in 2002 because I needed to focus on my studies. Is it still around? Some of the DOCDISC folks are members of The Intersection. It's good seeing them here.

If I never said this before I unsubscribed - thanks, DOCDISCers, for helping me become both a Disciple and a disciple.

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Tags: DOCDISC, Disciples, blog, community, denomination, discipleship, email, learning, membership, technology

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Comment by Jerry McAllister on September 25, 2009 at 8:12pm
I don't know about docdisc. It may be gone. But listserv-s are still a going thing. Almost every
technical utility, OS or item in the world of computers has a listserv. That is the way technical
issues are hashed out and the way users get technical help.

The advantage of a listserv over something like a facebook is that it is active. It pushes each post
out to the whole list. The social sites can be set up to send Emails and I see some when Rebecca
starts a new discussion. But, in general, the social sites are much more time consuming to wade
through to get the information. On the other hand, you can include pictures and other images
in the social site posts. The social sites are generally more searchable, though sometimes they
are hard to navigate effectively and they tend to arrange things in threads of discussions. The listservs
can do this by making threaded archives, but it is less effective. So, there is something to be said
for each type of system.
Comment by Rebecca Woods on August 31, 2009 at 11:01am
David,

We were probably on there at the same time. Seemed like there were about 80-90 people back then. I'd be interested to know what's happening there too - if you start getting updates, please let me know!
Comment by David Cobb on August 30, 2009 at 8:10pm
Thanks for the memories! I was an early participant, back when churches weren't sure they needed websites and most clergy thought email would be a passing fad. We were right... It passed, but who could have anticipated Twitter, facebook, blogging & the Intersection? I'll have to turn off my set nomail & see what's cooking at DOCDISC again.
Comment by Dean Phelps on August 29, 2009 at 1:47pm
Thanks, Rebecca. Glad to know you had a good experience on DOCDISC. It was--and still is, I reckon--a good bunch of folks.
Comment by Jonathan Earnest on August 25, 2009 at 10:09pm
Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! I have never heard of DOCDISC, but I did a search for it and found that it still exists. http://listserv.tcu.edu/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A0=docdisc
You have peaked my interest... I'll have to take a closer look.

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