Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goodbye, DisciplesWorld

DisciplesWorld, which has been the denominational magazine for my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), announced today that it is ceasing publication. It was in operation for seven years, shortly after the denomination shut down The Disciple, the denomination's own in house magazine.

To say that I'm a little sad, would be an understatement. I think this is bad for the denomination and will hurt us all in the long run.

As I said, DisciplesWorld, which was an independent magazine, came into being because of the closure of The Disciple. Now the Disciple was not much a magazine. But what it did was keep us informed of what was going on throughout Discipledom.

I know that there are many of my fellow Disciples out there that look at the end of DisciplesWorld and will shrug. Magazines are so 20th century, they will say. We can get all our info from the web, others will say. All are valid reasons. But I also think all of them are a croc of...well, this is family blog.

Listen, when it comes to the web and social media, I am all over that. I've been blogging since 2002. I love Twitter and Facebook and I want to find ways to use them to foster better communication.

But despite all my love for modern communication, it will not replace what I think was worthwhile journalism. Maybe it's the old ink-stained wretch in me (I did get my bacheor's degree in jounralism), but the reason blogs exist is because of the traditional media that we so casually ignore. It's because there are people that make the work of reporting and writing their jobs, that we bloggers have anything to say. Now that DisciplesWorld is gone, does anyone really think that some blogger in Minneapolis is going to write about what some Disciples congregation is doing? Most bloggers don't have the staying power do the real live jounralism. We blog occasionally, but we have to tend to the rest of our lives.

Which is why I think the loss of DisciplesWorld is such a bad thing. We are losing a unifying voice, a place where we could come and learn from each other. We are losing a way to find out what is going on the wider church. We are losing a way to be challenged with thoughts and opinions that we may not agree with. We are losing some damn good reporting. I will forever be thankful for their stories on the Jonestown massacre, which helped a new generation understand what happened in the jungle in South America all those years ago.

One would hope this would be a case for Disciples News Service to kick it up a notch and come up with something new. It could be web-based. I don't care what it is, but something needs to happen to keep the tradition of Disciple publications going. From the times of the Millenial Harbinger to now, Disciples have used media to express thoughts and ideas.

I will miss DisciplesWorld. I am thankful for Verity Jones, Rebecca Woods and Sherri Emmons for all of their hard work, especially for Rebecca who interviewed me for an article earlier this year. You fought the good fight.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Rebecca Bowman Woods said...


Thanks for your kind words about the magazine. And especially, thanks for sharing your personal story with me for the article.

With the magazine gone, I am interested to see what happens next. I think we'll see several initiatives. Although, like you, I still am a print junkie (mostly magazines, not so much the newspaper) I would put my money on the denomination's bloggers, podcasters, webmasters, and social media-ites (for lack of a better word) to carry things forward. Seasoned bloggers like yourself will lead the way, I think.

I've written an editorial for the Jan/Feb issue about that. We're hoping to be able to put out the final issue but if now, we'll post our editorials on the web.

Again, thanks!