This community is primarily a meeting place and place of fellowship for new christians and those who have started to think about the faith. Of course "established" christians are welcome too, but please keep in mind that the community's purpose is to cater primarily to new christians. Questions of whatever kind are encouraged, and son_of_mercy, the moderator, will be trying to let the community moderate itself. However, SPAM posts, offensive language and personal attacks will be moderated and deleted.
Reason for this community is that I have found that sometimes "established" christians don't give new converts the same rights as they give to each other. It's always easy to find someone to preach to you, but not quite as easy to find someone actually helping you. In many christian communities, you will find many discussions and debates on doctrinal issues, but the real person-to-person fellowship seems very rare. Even though the christian faith is indeed a wonderful faith it has some very tough aspects, it's not always easy to be a christian. In my experience, "established" christians, especially those who grew up in the faith, don't like to acknowledge the paradoxical nature of the christian faith. Many things which give trouble to the honest seeker are downplayed, or outright denied their relevance. In a yahoo chat one of those established christians was so frank to tell me that pretty only those who convert in their youth will really accept the faith and keep it. Pretty much all the others would fall away anyway. I regard such an attitude as very arrogant. Most of the time, a new christian leaves the faith because of other christians, and not because of God. I do not accept the often-cited notion that "denomination x does that, but my church doesn't do that". Of course individual congregations can be better than others, but it's not about the denominations. Sometimes a catholic congregation is very good and compassionate, sometimes it's a protestant or a nondenominational congregation.
One other important thing is that as new converts, we come from different backgrounds than those who grew up in the faith. Some of us were atheists, some agnostics, some people of another religion or conviction. And the habits that formed in those times, even the general principles we follow, often remain in some way, at least for a time. And sometimes we wake up in the morning and it feels as if atheism's back and God doesn't exist. A person who got to know God in their childhood will likely never feel that way. For them, God's existence is so much of a matter of course that every moment of relapse or doubt only irritates them, as they don't know that from themselves and their family.
We new christians aren't just meant to be taught. We're supposed to be loved, just as much as we are supposed to love. Discussion and teaching and maintaining sound doctrine of course has its place, but it should not be our concern each time when we talk. Do you do that in your families too? I believe there is too much focus on theory, and too little on practice. I believe we should speak more with examples ... like, "I understood this doctrine, and I did this and that for understanding it, and experienced this or that after learning it". Our experiences in life are important. They matter too. For example, just because Jesus said that those who do not hate their parents aren't worthy of him, doesn't mean that we shall hate our parents. In fact, the law says that we shall honor them. Jesus is the saviour - and for me this means that he has laid out a net on Earth. None of us is too small to slip through it, even those of us who hate their parents and have no families. There is nothing that Christ didn't think of. He sometimes makes entry into the faith difficult, so that we know the price, but He also shows us how much He is worth every price. But of course, this is what I believe myself, so like with anything else, it is open for discussion, especially in a nonconventional community like this one.
If you want to partake in fellowship here, please remember to be honest, respectful, merciful on those who doubt, friendly and peacable. Just because someone doesn't accept this or that tenet of doctrine already doesn't mean he never will. Maybe God is teaching him other things first. Maybe he doesn't have the capacity yet to understand it. At first, many things of faith are not open to us yet, it requires experience and study, and prayer, a time of walk with the Lord. I do not believe that God expects of us to understand anything immediately. In fact, I think the most content christians are those who know that everything has its time, including our learning. And isn't patience an important fruit of the spirit, an important quality of character?
I hope I made the purpose and reasons for this community clear. And now I wish you a good time here, much of God's blessing and strengthening, and Christ's infinite patience with your first steps in walking with Him.
Psalm 37:24 (New International Version)
[..]though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.