“Are You Where You’re Needed?” [link]

There is a new post on my other site, CSL On The Bible, should you be so inclined…

btw – for those who don’t get my Twitter announcements, my lead in to this story was “A Methodist minister meets Jesus”. Hope that is intriguing enough. 🙂


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“Unexpected Good-byes” [link]

As most of my readers know, I have two blogs and whenever I post on my CSL On The Bible, I post a link here for those who might be interested in my writings about topics other than marriage.

Today, I am posting a link to my latest post, but am asking that all of you please go there, read Unexpected Good-byes, and pray for us.


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“Stop pressuring me!”


(Let me preface this post, and stress as strongly as I can, this one caveat. If the cause of sexual gatekeeping/refusal in your marriage is due to legitimate issues of the past, such as seriously bad teaching or the result of past abuse, then sexual reluctance is understandable. Understandable, yes, but not necessarily permanent. If it comes to light that there has been past physical or spiritual abuse, then it is incumbent upon both, and I stress, BOTH, spouses to be understanding of each other and to work on healing, so that the marriage can be put on right footing.)

I realize that I haven’t written a post for this blog in a while, and I guess I apologize for that,… er, sort of. Unlike many of the other marriage and sexuality bloggers (whom I truly enjoy and honor), I don’t see myself as a writer. Instead, I’m more like that old guy that you know of who gets himself in a state and then proceeds to grace the world with his wisdom, whether wanted or not.

One of my aids for writing is my idea folder on my laptop, which contains word processing files with snippets of ideas or quotes that I’ve culled over time that I thought, somewhere in the past, might be a good topic to think on and to write about. This is a post that is triggered by one of those older snippets.

Apparently some time ago, I had come across a comment by someone who said that she felt “pressured to have sex” and I made a note of it in my Future Post Files. This is something that I had seen before a few times, as a pushback by a gatekeeping/refusing spouse against sexual initiation. In rediscovering that note and thinking about what might lie behind that sort of statement, I found that it triggered three questions that I want to take time to flush out.

Didn’t You Think That Sex Was Part Of “The Deal”?

You did know that sex was is part of the expectation of married life when you said “I do”, when you signed the marriage certificate, didn’t you? If not, I have a thought experiment for you: if you can, please name any culture, any society, down through the ages in which sex was NOT a part of a marriage relationship. What makes you think that your “I do” was so special that it set your marriage apart from all the rest of the marriages in history? And if you, by your “I do”, promised your spouse that you willingly enter into a sexual relationship, why is it transformed into “pressure?”

One word I’m hearing bandied about these days is “privilege,” and I’m wondering if some people come into marriage with a “privilege” mindset. One thought is that someone marries thinking “It’s my privilege to NOT have sex; my spouse doesn’t have a right to expect sex in our marriage.” Another tack might be, “Sex is a privilege, and by Billy Bedamned Hangtree, s/he is gonna have to earn the privilege!” Believe it or not, I’ve seen both mindsets expressed.

I always marvel at the statement, “I feel pressure to have sex.” When you say “I do”, you are entering into a sexual relationship, and you promised to “do” your spouse. Where does this so-called “pressure” come from other than believing that you are entitled to carve out a right to celibacy?

Other Pressures?

In discussing this topic with Wife, she made an interesting comment. Shaking her head, she rhetorically asked, “Do you feed pressure to feed your children? Do you feel pressure to go to work and earn money?”

And she is onto something, isn’t she? We DO face responsibilities for ourselves and others, whether it be going to work to provide, to clothe, feed and care for our children, to pay bills, etc. Imagine if someone were to tell their employer, “You’re pressuring me to perform my job!” Or to tell your kids, “Don’t tell me you are hungry, it puts pressure on me to feed you!” Try telling the bank, “Don’t send me letters asking me to pay my mortgage, it stresses me out when you ask for money!”

We have a word for someone who doesn’t perform their work: bad employee
We have a word for someone who doesn’t try to provide for their kids: bad parent.
We have a word for someone who doesn’t try to keep up their their bills: bad financial risk.

So, what should we say of someone who does not accept the obligation/responsibility (for that it what one assumes with an “I do”, responsibility) of their promise to enter into a sexual relationship? A bad spouse? (Too much pressure!)

Hmmm……. Maybe I’ve stepped over a line, and made some people feel ….

Or Something Else?

Make people feel… what? Could it be that it isn’t so much pressure, but  something more like… guilt?

After all, I can’t bring myself to believe that, in this day and age, someone would actually go into a marriage with the idea that sex isn’t part of the arrangement, so the “too much pressure” is really bogus, isn’t it? But it has to come from somewhere, right?

And I’m thinking that it does, that it comes from our desire to protect our self-image, our belief that we have integrity as a person, if you will. All too often, we feel that we have to be perfect, and if something is wrong or off, it has to be the other person’s fault, it can’t be ours. And so we lash out in an effort to push the blame onto the other.

It’s not that I don’t want sex, it’s that you are always pressuring me.
It’s not that I don’t like sex, it’s that you haven’t wooed me.
It’s not that I don’t desire you, it’s that I get tired of your nagging about it.

But we know that the failure is inside of us, and so, to protect our self-esteem, we strike out in order to avoid dealing with our failure to make fulfilling our promise a priority. Yes, we actually meant it when we said “love, honor and cherish,” but so much of life has gotten in the way. And now your asking is a reminder of my failure to keep my promise to you.

What if it comes down to this, that “your pressuring me to have sex” is simply shorthand for “You’re making me feel guilty and I don’t like it”?

You know, as a card-carrying curmudgeon, I’m willing to bet that guilt triggers much of the “Stop putting pressure on me” pushback from a refusing spouse.

I think that unless there was an intent to deceive right at the “I do’s”, a gatekeeper or mored/moredet** actually accepted the fact, at the beginning, that marriage was a sexual relationship. Somehow however, other things choked out the intention of the original promise.

We know of the Parable of the Four Soils that Jesus told, and how he applied it to the hearts of those who hear his word. I’m thinking that the parable can also be applied (not interpreted, mind you!) to marriage. Just as weeds choked out the new growth, everyday living can choke out our good intentions.

If so, it’s time to do some weeding.

(more to come, maybe.)


** Rabbinic term for a spouse who refuses sex.

Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, or pastor. For that matter, Wife says I don’t play well with others. My advice and comments come from my concern for hurting Christian husbands and wives. Someone once said to me, “Church shouldn’t hurt”, and I believe the same thing goes for marriage. I’m going to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but please, don’t take my word as gospel. Yes, read what I say, pray about what I say, but do your own “due diligence.”


Filed under Marriage & Sexuality

A Cautious Cheer For #MeToo


This post has been a hard one to write because I understand that it has the potential to upset some very good people, people whom I admire and esteem. But as the old Muslim proverb says, “It is the dead mouse that swims with the current.”

If you scroll down my page, you will find (in the right sidebar) the logo of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association, which, (due to a momentary loss of lucidness) allowed me to become a member. Recently, on the CMBA Facebook page, someone encouraged all the male CMBA bloggers to post something in support of the #MeToo movement, and many of them did so by writing a post about sexual harassment/abuse. Continue reading


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“This Is My Son; Shema!” [link]

There is a new post on my other site, CSL On The Bible, should you be so inclined…

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Rare Opportunity For My Readers

In a post on my other blog, CSL On The Bible, I told how a book that I picked up in January has had a profound effect on my Christian faith. I cited a C. S. Lewis quote, from his short work An Experiment in Criticism, in which he wrote that some readers are so affected by a book [t]heir whole consciousness is changed. They have become what they were not before.”

For me, that book was Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. I poured over that book for months, and then purchased Tverberg’s second book, Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus. Without a doubt, these two books have changed how I look at the practice of the Christian faith, giving me clarity at what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Through my posts this year, I have recommended these books highly.

Today, I received an email from Tverberg’s Our Rabbi Jesus site that announced that, for a limited time, her two books, Sitting… and Walking… are available on Amazon for $2.99 each! This is part of the roll-out for her next book, Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus. (Guess what I’m getting for Christmas!)

So, please, my readers, in this season of giving, do yourself a mitzvah** and buy yourself an inexpensive but powerful present. Here are the links for the two books:

Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus
Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus


** mitzvah – good deed.


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Addressing the Man-O-Sphere: The Last Word

readers respond

In my quick reaction post to questions about the Man-O-Sphere (MoS), I did not spare readers my feelings about the it (okay, I did. I kept it clean.) But I did promise that after I got that rant out of my system, I would address the MoS phenomenon and so, here goes.

First off, let me say that I understand the appeal of the MoS. To borrow terminology from Newtonian physics, it is an equal and opposite reaction to feminism in our society. However, an equal, opposite reaction is not necessarily a good thing. Everyone has seen images of the little device called a Newton’s Cradle, which has 5-6 balls suspended in a frame. When one or two are pulled away from the others on one side and allowed to drop back, the force is transferred through the stationary balls to the other side, and they, in turn, are knocked from their place, and so it goes, back and forth.

I see feminism as one side of the cradle and MoS as the other side. I get the reaction to feminism, but that doesn’t mean that an equal and opposite reaction is corrective. In fact, I believe that it is just as toxic as the feminism that it reacts to. Continue reading


Filed under Culture, Sexuality

Now We Are Three


A glance at the calendar shows me that not only did I turn 68 last month, but that today is the third anniversary of the debut of The Curmudgeonly Librarian. In spite of the good advice from those with good taste, I went ahead and started writing, and the jury is still out on the wisdom of the whole mishmash.

In past anniversary posts, I have laid the blame for this blog squarely on the shoulders of those who helped me get this blog set up on Word Press, so there is no need to further sully the reputation of those two excellent bloggers, so Chris and Bonny, you can breathe a sigh of relief on that score. Continue reading

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Addressing the “Man-O-Sphere”

readers respond

In my last post, I made a passing reference to a portion of the Internet called the “Man-O-Sphere” (herein shortened to MoS). I believe my exact statement was, “… idiotic Man-O-Sphere.” One of my readers asked me for more on my antipathy toward the MoS, so this is something I’ve dashed off. I freely admit this is not an attempt at a point-by-point refutation of MoS; I also admit that it is also heavily weighted by my emotional response to what I’ve seen and read by MoS writers, and not a dispassionate rebuttal. Suffice to say that I believe the MoS to be an equal and opposite evil to feminism. Continue reading


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A Plea For Two-Handed Thinking



This year, I have been engaged in a fascinating exploration of different writers and teachers who say that Christians need to understand the first-century context of Jesus and the Gospels. To get a handle on what the gospels contain, we have to give up our Western mindset and think how Christ’s words sounded to His fellow first-century Jews; after all, He wasn’t speaking to 20th- and 21st-century Lutherans, Baptists and Methodists. To do so, one of the teachers said, “you have to think Hebraically.” He went on to say that “thinking Hebraically requires two hands: ‘on the one hand,… and on the other hand….’” Continue reading


Filed under Marriage & Sexuality