Along the lines of missing DisciplesWorld, I also miss DOCDISC. DOCDISC is the email group for Disciples. I remember joining it in the late 90s and it was always an engaging medium to talk about issues both worldwide and within the denomination. These days, only one person makes email posts, a poet that see this as a way of getting his work out there. Most people have migrated to Facebook and that most people includes me. I think a lot of folk saw Facebook as the next step from an email listserv, but I’m starting to think that listservs are different from Facebook. The latter just isn’t conducive to expound/rant on recent events. Facebook tends to be a place where everyone is nice, but don’t probe too deeply, or it is geared towards the hyper-partisan- a place where like minded people can gather and basically rip on the other side. By 2009, DOCDISC was already on the way out. It was at the time when a fellow clergy, Rebecca Bowman Woods, shared her feelings about DOCDISC. Here’s what she wrote.
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 wish DOCDISC ramped up again or that we find some new way of chatting. There are things I’d like to discuss that just can’t be talked about on Facebook or Twitter. I wonder if anyone else thinks this way.