Every year it's my non-sacred duty to compose a Holiday, a.k.a. Christmas, Letter.
I use "Holiday" on the letter itself, because sometimes my wife and I don't get around to mailing them until after December 25, and this gives us sort of an excuse.
Hey, you're getting it before New Year's, which is the last end of year holiday.
Have a look if you want to get a glimpse into the Real World of the Church of the Churchless' unpastor. And gaze upon a photo of his amazingly adorable granddaughter.
Download 2012 Christmas Letter PDF
I capitalized "Real World" to make a point: this blog is a sideline for me, by no means the most important part of my life, just something I enjoy putting an hour or two into every other day.
I'm sure it's even less important for visitors to this web site. Which is as it should be.
Sharing ideas about spirituality, religion, and the meaning of life should take a backseat to living life in a much more direct fashion.
Judging from comments on my blog posts, it's clear that some Church of the Churchless visitors have an impression that I'm obsessed with trashing religion and finding fresh ways to promote skepticism, the scientific method, and truthfulness concerning the nature of reality.
Read our Christmas letter to learn what's really important to my wife and me. I'm hugely more obsessed with my granddaughter, dogs, dancing, and longboard land paddling than putting down unfounded religious belief.
Us unbelievers are normal people, just like believers are -- an important point to keep in mind. This is obvious when interactions between the faithless and faithful happen in everyday life, face to face.
It's clear that real live human beings, with lives extending way beyond the bounds of ideology or theology, simply look upon one aspect of reality in different ways. Some people intimately embrace the possibility of the supernatural; others leave it at that, an unproven possibility.
The Internet doesn't allow for this sort of understanding. Interactions are faceless, often even nameless (since fake identities are used by many people).
Arguments about ideas can become much more intense than in "real" life. Courtesies almost always observed in face to face communications get thrown aside. Profanities and personal insults abound. This bothers me, as someone who has managed two blogs for eight years.
I'm not immune myself to righteous indignation that can get overly righteous and indignant.
However, I try to remember that behind the words of a comment, blog post, web article, or something else on the Internet I disagree with is a human being a lot like me, doing his or her best to live life in a pleasant meaningful fashion, just like I am.
Our 2012 Christmas letter is a more accurate reflection of the life actually lived by my wife and me than this blog is. A good reminder that as valuable as the Internet is, cyberspace is much less real than physical space.