S.R. asked "What do you do when your faith and your reality are in opposition?"
I thought about that for a while, looking at my understanding of "faith" and my understanding of "reality".
It turns out that I figure that probably neither my faith nor my perception of reality
are 100% accurate. And because of that, I try to live gracefully with that understanding of
my own imperfect faith and perception, which imperfection, I believe, is part of the life of
every person whether they know it or not. So I have learned to primarily focus on trying to act
according to the principles and qualities of life and interaction
that I am learning are most essential to approximating my
understanding of the teachings of Jesus in the books I believe are
divinely inspired and the guidance I imperfectly receive through
I believe that my (or anyone else's) understanding of what
is, and what will be, or what we hope will be will always, to one
extent or another, be "through a glass darkly" throughout
my life. And I believe that faith ultimately consists not in what I
expect, nor what others declare, nor what I hope will happen now or
any time in the next 1000+ years, but rather in my determination to
live and act, as best I understand, according principles that I
understand to be of God, and according to whatever divine, loving
inspiration I think I personally have (imperfectly) received up to
that point in regards to my own interaction with others, regardless
of my circumstances, the perceptions or understanding of others, or
the contradictions surrounding me or my perceptions.
In other words,
living by faith in a contradictory world is, for me, choosing to live
according to the light I have received so far, knowing that my
perception of the light (and anyone else's) is imperfect, and
continuing in spite of that.
And I have learned, sometimes the hard
way, that in order to live such a life charity and patience and gentle forbearance
towards myself and others are as completely essential as is my commitment to light and seeking to
walk with God.