Well, we met with the officiant on Tuesday, as planned. It wasn't until the day of our meeting that I bothered to ask Opie what denomination this preacher is. As soon as he said, "Baptist", I instantly became apprehensive. I try to be as open-minded about religion and religious sects as possible, but a large percentage of my negative experiences in regards to religion have come via Baptists. That's not by any means to say that Baptists are bad people! I've just encountered fewer open-minded Baptists than open-minded "insert-other-Denomination-here"s, and am therefore sometimes wary of interactions with Baptists where religion will dominate the conversation.
As we pulled up to the church, my apprehension developed into a heavy stone in my stomach. I've seen a lot of huge churches, but this one is pretty uber-huge, without becoming the stereotypical concrete super-church you run into on the highways of Texas. Beautiful traditional brick architecture, but seemingly the size of an airport, and with an underground parking garage to boot. Eep. As an agnostic with somewhat atheistic leanings, I felt rather like I was entering a trap, while driving into the underbelly of this enormous church, with the express purpose of explaining my religious beliefs to a minister.
I think Opie was (understandably) a little amused by my palpable fear, but in the moment, I was far from amused by his amusement. I hadn't had a one-on-one meeting with a minister since I went through confirmation in 6th grade, and I was even nervous then! Despite the fact that I've attended copious amounts of churches since going down a "wayward" path, out of respect for the other attendees of the church, I always keep mum about any issues I may find with the religious proceedings. It's certainly not my place to come into their place of worship and question their beliefs. Which is exactly what I felt like I was preparing to do. Whee!
We wound up having to employ the help of a security guard and some sort of church employee to guide us to the minister's office, which happened to be as far from where we parked as humanly possible, with a never-ending labyrinth of stairs and hallways in between.
And you know what? All my fears were for naught. The minister was one heck of a nice guy, and completely respectful of our beliefs, as we were of his. I think all 3 of us enjoyed the open-minded religious philosophical discussion that ensued. If anyone wants a religious officiant in the Dallas area, I would gladly pass you his information.
Unfortunately, just as we would feel insincere having a religious ceremony when we are nonreligious, the minister would feel insincere in performing a nonreligious ceremony when he believes that God is an important part of marriage. We completely understand, though it is a little disappointing, since he's a really great guy and the only officiant we have any personal recommendation for thus far... but we'll figure something else out.
Since I assigned finding an officiant to Opie, I'm doing my best to stay out of researching it too much, but I'll be somewhat surprised if we don't end up using a Justice of the Peace. I don't know what rates they charge, but I'm sure it can't be worse than the cheesy wedding officiants we've found offering their services online.