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.