I have a very charming Larry Wall story. He came to give a seminar to the research center where I was working, and gave a fantastic talk on Perl 6.
Late in the evening, I ran into him and his wife on the bus when getting home from work - and started talking to them. Apparently, nobody from the department had arranged to take them out for dinner, so we ended up going out for dinner together, where we had a fantastic discussion covering religion, tolerance, and lots of other topics. I am a staunch materialist and atheist, while both the Walls are serious committed Christians, but we had a really pleasant discussion on religion and the nature of evidence.
I ended up giving his wife a copy of Hume's Dialogue on Natural Religion, and they were kind enough to sign a copy of the Camel book for a friend who is a huge Perl fan.
A lot of people know Larry by reputation - but his wife Gloria is just as smart and kind. It was a bit of a strange evening, but it was a rare privilege to meet two such interesting people.
I cannot emphasize enough how unassuming, kind and decent the Walls are. If you are also interested in very intelligent writing about religion, their son, Aaron, has a very neat blog: http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/.
I've had conversations like these, about VERY sensitive topics, with friends who disagreed, and none of us held a grudge (that I know of). I miss that.
I know this happened years ago, but still, thanks for sharing. It gives me hope.
PS: I am not talking about spiritual people, I am talking about religious people who participate in religious processes without question and often financially help their religious institution to further the spread of it.