Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
Real Christians only, please
If you read my blog last month, you know already what ChMS stands for and that some ChMS companies don't care for churches who cater to alternative lifestyles. Despite a few setbacks my church's search for the right web-enabled ChMS has been continuing, with the latest possible candidate being Ekklesia 360, a system that does everything from managing web content to attracting online traffic to involving your community in the ministry to spreading the gospel.

Yes, gospel is spelled with a lower-case "g" on Ekklesia's website, although as it turns out, I'm thinking they should be capitalizing it, because The Gospel's pretty important to them. You see, after we contacted Ekklesia, they took a look at our website and told us they didn't want to do business with us, though not for the reason you might expect, that we're soft on homosexuality. No, it's because of the shocking news, featured on the front page of our website, that a Jew was coming to Cross Creek to preach, and not to preach the Good News that Jesus is Christ.

Rabbi Judy Chessin
Our Jewish guest this weekend was none other than Temple Beth Or's founding rabbi, Rabbi Judy Chessin, an interesting choice for the first weekend of Advent, the season during which we anticipate Christ's birth.

Rabbi Chessin did not come to proclaim that she was a Jew for Jesus but rather explained that she does not believe Jesus was the Messiah. She was quite tactful about it, explaining the criteria outlined in Jewish tradition for what it takes to be the Messiah. A person must fulfill every one of these criteria to be the Messiah, and at least one of them, worldwide peace, is a humdinger. Logically, Rabbi Chessin said, we wouldn't expect there ever to be someone who could qualify. Even Christians don't believe Jesus achieved world peace during his time on Earth, hence the need for a Second Coming.

However, it was our similarities, not our differences, that Rabbi Chessin wanted to stress. We all are waiting for the Messianic age, whether it is marked by the Messiah's return or by his (or her, Rabbi Chessin said) initial arrival. We all need to work together to bring about this time when there'll be no more injustice or ignorance or disease or poverty.

Ekklesia's not having any of this ecumenism (it can't be a coincidence that ecumenism about rhymes with secular humanism, can it?) though. If we're willing to have a rabbi, and a woman nonetheless, stand up in our church and say that Jesus isn't Christ, no matter what she might say about peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, then we're not Ekklesia's type of Christians, and God knows, if they took just any type of Christians, they might as well rename their software Ecumenia 360.
Saturday, December 9th, 2006

Last night my friend Derek was in town, and we went out to eat, did some shopping and then hit the bars. I was all excited about that last bit because Thursday was when Ohio's new ban on smoking in public places was to have taken effect, so this would be the first time I could go to a gay bar in Ohio and not come home smelling all smoky. Well I was being naive and forgetting that people don't like to obey laws they deem to be senseless or intrusive, which of course I do myself when it comes, for example, to speed limits.

In the first bar we hit, the Right Corner, there was a sign on the wall left over from Wednesday night touting their big Smoke Out ending at midnight, after which, I can only assume, everyone had a big chuckle and continued to smoke because on Friday there were still ashtrays on the bar and lit cigarettes galore. I asked the bartender about that, and he said, "Oh the ban doesn't take effect until May." Right. Derek texted his bf Chip to text us back the number for reporting violations, which is 866-559-6446, but they only take messages during business hours M-F 8-5. Oh well.

A cute and friendly bartender from Stage Door
A cute and friendly bartender from Stage Door
(If you see him, ask him to take off his shirt)
So we moved on to the Stage Door, where smoking was also business as usual, although they have a second bar where there wasn't any smoking going on yet, though there were ashtrays laid out. I asked the friendly bartender what that was all about, and he said, yeah, he knew about the new law, but he'd been told by his boss to set out the ashtrays. I stacked them up and set them on a chair while we were there.

David doesn't want his face to be seen David's stripper doesn't mind his butt being seen

After a couple drinks, we hopped on over to the last bar of the evening, Cell Block, where, yes, there was smoking going on, but by that time we no longer cared quite so much. We ran into a friend of mine, David, who doesn't like having his photograph taken and who gets lap dances from strippers. During all the ruckus, Derek broke a nail (omg!), then he snapped a picture of me and him, and then I snapped one of Derek kissing ass.
Derek's broken nail Derek and me Derek kissing ass

Update 12-11-06: I did remember to call the Ohio Department of Health to report Right Corner, Stage Door and Cell Block, each of whom will be getting warning letters. Whether that will do any good remains to be seen.
Sunday, December 10th, 2006
Today was the fourth annual Dayton Gay Men's Chorus Christmas concert, and I took tons of pictures, more of which you can see in the galleries.
Monday, December 11th, 2006
I got a call today from 954-970-0393, which after googling I found supposedly belongs to the National Benefits Consultants of Coconut Creek, Florida. When I answered, I heard a recording saying that I'd recently called them to inquire about personal or family health care coverage, at which point I hung up because I'd done no such thing. Why do they think I'd want to do business with a bunch of liars?
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