Welcome to the Internet
The Internet is a very big and confusing place. Newcomers can often be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material. Here I introduce the Internet in general, with particular reference to Christadelphian activities.
The World Wide Web, the WWW, is the section of the Internet that people are most familiar with, and this is a web page so you are using it right now. You are probably using a program like Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. By now you are probably familiar with the point and click way of jumping from page to page. For example, clicking here will take you to my home page. You can get back here by clicking on the ‘Back’ button on your toolbar. You can also access pages by typing their address, called the URL, directly: from the File menu, select Open (or something similar) and then type the required URL.
There are quite a large number of Christadelphian Websites, including our own, The Christadelphians - a Body of Bible Believing People. I also have a list of many of the other sites I have found useful, and a subject index is under construction.
A mailing list is a discussion group that takes place by sending e-mail to all the subscribers to the list. There are several Christadelphian mailing lists that cover a variety of topics.
Probably the best known mailing list, ecclesia-discuss, or just ‘ED’, also has the highest number of messages. It exists for the discussion of essentially any topic of interest to Christadelphians. The range of subjects is very broad, from detailed study of prophecy to casual discussion of other matters. Although in the past ED has been highly idiosyncratic, it has matured over the past few years into a very profitable discussion forum which I enjoy participating in. Because, like all the Christadelphian mailing lists, it is open to all Christadelphian fellowships, ED has contributed considerably to cross fellowship understanding in a very positive way. In recent months issues such as parenting, the book of Daniel and creation have all been brought up.
To subscribe to ED, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.
Ecclesia-families, EF, is a much lower volume group. It is a mailing list for young Christadelphians, and people from Christadelphian families, although people of all ages and from all backgrounds read this group. Despite the young age of many of the contributors the quality of discussion is very high; in a recent discussion about forgiveness several people made spiritually uplifting comments that would not have been out of place in the finest exhortations. If you subscribe to just one mailing list it should be EF.
To subscribe to EF, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.
In contrast to ED and EF, gospel-discuss, GD, is for the discussion of fundamental points of Christadelphian belief among Christadelphians and non Christadelphians.
To subscribe to GD, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.
Ecclesia-web, EW, is a mailing list for brothers and sisters who use the WWW for preaching. Although this list has only just got underway anybody with a Christadelphian website should subscribe to it.
To subscribe to EW, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.
Newsgroups are like electronic noticeboards or electronic discussion groups. Unlike mailing lists, which are only read by people who subscribe to them, newsgroups can be read by anyone with Internet access. Although there are hundreds of religious newsgroups there are no Christadelphian specific newsgroups. The easiest way to access newsgroups is by using DejaNews, although Netscape and Internet Explorer both have a newsreading function. I discuss newsgroups in more detail in Preaching on the Internet. DejaNews’ policy page has links to pages that give advice about using newsgroups. The group that might be a good start is uk.religion.christian.
Although it takes time to learn to use the Internet effectively it is generally worth taking that time. The Internet is not a trouble free place, but it can be, and is, a spiritually fulfilling place.