Christianbook.com Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for Zondervan Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?

Zondervan Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?

Shake off the shackles of misunderstanding about sin and build a life of holy pleasure that will nurture your relationships, protect your spiritual integrity, and energize your worship! Thomas provides spiritual insights, a theological framework, and practical exercises that will help you approach life in Christ with new wonder and joy. 272 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
Average Customer Rating:
4.933 out of 5
4.9
 out of 
5
(15 Reviews) 15
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (15 reviews)
5 stars
14
4 stars
1
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0
Customer Reviews for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Review 1 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 17, 2010
Customer Avatar
Jen Quiverfullfamilycom
If you squirm a little inside when you read the title Pure Pleasure, youre in good company. As the subtitle of Gary Thomas accessible treaties on the biblical role of pleasure in a believers life suggests, many of us have - perhaps unknowingly - adopted an attitude of ascetic martyrdom that is never suggested or recommended in the word of God. However, if youre willing to put your discomfort and hesitations aside for a moment, Thomas is ready to redirect misguided pleasure avoiders into a balanced and godly understanding of the delights God has in store for us in this life and how they can draw our hearts closer to His.Pure Pleasure arrived in my life at a time when I had begun to question the lack of joy, the lack of laughter, the lack of, yes - pleasure - in the lives of many of my brothers and sisters (and myself in some areas.) Not only was there a desert, but there was actually fear surrounding the prospect of allowing delight into the Christian life. Where was the room for rejoicing? For the jubilant celebration that Jesus calls us to? Not only was I asking this question about others around me, but of myself as well.Im always naturally cautious when a book so vigorously defends a certain aspect of the Christian life, and not having read any of Thomas work in the past I wondered if perhaps his was a new form of Christian hedonism - Im so glad that its not. In fact, Pure Pleasure is hands-down the most balanced, biblical perspective on the proper role of delight that Ive ever encountered, whether by book, sermon, or informal times of fellowship.
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 2 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 5, 2010
Customer Avatar
Andrea Schultz
So often, Christians fall into the trap of viewing the world as evil and to be avoided. Pure Pleasure, provides a biblical defense of embracing pleasure as a pathway to worship and intimacy with God. Mr. Thomas provides a basis for his defense this way:Heres where I think the church has gotten off track: We often fail to make the distinction that Paul makes when he wrote to Titus: To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted (1:15) In context, Paul is arguing against hyper-religionists trying to saddle Christians with arbitrary rules and prohibitions. (p. 22)This section reminds me of how Jesus railed against the Pharisees and Sadducees for following rules and regulations instead of showing and displaying love and compassion.I must admit that I've fallen into the trap of focusing on the sin and not the Savior and have missed so much in life that God would prefer that I would have enjoyed. I've attended some churches in which this mindset is perpetuated. The world is portrayed as an evil place which is to be avoided. This world view is very detrimental to the believer and to the watching world. Why would anyone want to follow Jesus if it turns them into a sour puss?! I am grateful to Mr. Thomas for writing this book, and potentially improving the lives and well-being of many people.I am sure it truly grieves the heart of God when He sees us miserable and obsessed with the idea of the stench of sin rather than focusing on His great love for us! I am glad that Mr. Thomas makes this point: I walk with God because He is the true Creator and rightful Lord. But I also walk with Christ because a life with Christ is a beautiful life, the most incredible journey you can imagine (p. 29).This book was provided to me by Zondervan.Reviewed by Andrea Schultz Ponderings by Andrea http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 1, 2010
Customer Avatar
Jo Franz
Gary Thomas has once again written a book I could agree with wholeheartedly! I love his words "Our play makes a statement to the world: indeed, it is an act of witness" in opposition to those who say that reading the Bible, praying and praising God verbally and denial are the only ways of giving God glory. I will be recommending this book both for those bound up, and those who want to be freed to sense God's smile because they live and love as God intended but don't know exactly how. But I'll also recommend it to those who want to smile and know they're living as God's children because they've already learned the secret of pure pleasure!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 10, 2010
Customer Avatar
Debbie from ChristFocus Book Club
If you feel guilty about enjoying the blessings God has given you, doing something nice for yourself, or taking a day off when there's so much need out there, then this is the book for you. But it's also for those who realize they're being tempted by pleasures than are condemned in the Bible. It shows how appropriate pleasure done in the God-ordained context will actually help prevent a Christian from being tempted by inappropriate behavior.Chapter one gave the premise of the book. Chapters two through five explained exactly what he meant when he said Christians should enjoy themselves and why he thought God wanted us to enjoy life. Chapters six through fourteen dug deeper into how appropriate enjoyment of pleasure would play out in a Christian's life, and he included examples from his life.The book was Bible-based, and he quoted Scripture to support his main points. I agreed with the points he made. Some parts in the first few chapters were a bit repetitious, as if he wanted to make sure we got his point. However, overall, the book was excellent, easy to understand, and made good points. I'd recommend it to anyone who "feels bad about feeling good" or otherwise wonders if they really have a Biblical view of pleasure.I received this review copy from the publisher.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 4, 2010
Customer Avatar
D.L. Burgess
I have read several of Gary's books and was as delighted by this as the others. Like many of the others it causes you to re-think how you view God's intentions and purposes. As someone predisposed to feel false guilt it was refreshing to be reminded that while I can have practical compassion for others in need, God doesn't desire me to feel guilt or regret when He blesses me financially or just with a surprise. Good stewardship is Biblical and necessary and yet I can and should enjoy the blessings of God--just as I want my daughter to enjoy the gifts I give her. I nodded in agreement when Gary spoke about pleasure-giving preferences and how we can choose a variety of ways to spend our discretionary income. Many years ago this became apparent when I shrugged my shoulders at another couple's recreational choice and a different friend shrugged hers at ours-- expensive college football tickets!! God created us uniquely and has given us different interests to delight and challenge us!!In closing, I want to focus on a serious section of Gary's book. He is spot on when he encourages the reader to find a healthy and Godly outlet of pleasure. If you allow yourself to get tired, stressed or preoccupied by the duties in life without an outlet for the aforementioned pleasure you will begin the slow fade into the dangerous pleasures and the repercussions could permanently alter your life in ways you never imagined. I believe many people would benefit from reading this book--and I think it would make a great small group study!!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 4, 2010
Customer Avatar
D.L. Burgess
I have read several of Gary's books and was as delighted by this as the others. Like many of the others it causes you to re-think how you view God's intentions and purposes. As someone predisposed to feel false guilt it was refreshing to be reminded that while I can have practical compassion for others in need, God doesn't desire me to feel guilt or regret when He blesses me financially or just with a surprise. Good stewardship is Biblical and necessary and yet I can and should enjoy the blessings of God--just as I want my daughter to enjoy the gifts I give her. I nodded in agreement when Gary spoke about pleasure-giving preferences and how we can choose a variety of ways to spend our discretionary income. Many years ago this became apparent when I shrugged my shoulders at another couple's recreational choice and a different friend shrugged hers at ours-- expensive college football tickets!! God created us uniquely and has given us different interests to delight and challenge us!!In closing, I want to focus on a serious section of Gary's book. He is spot on when he encourages the reader to find a healthy and Godly outlet of pleasure. If you allow yourself to get tired, stressed or preoccupied by the duties in life without an outlet for the aforementioned pleasure you will begin the slow fade into the dangerous pleasures and the repercussions could permanently alter your life in ways you never imagined. I believe many people would benefit from reading this book--and I think it would make a great small group study!!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 17, 2009
Customer Avatar
Shafer Parker, Jr.
Whatever the subject, Gary Thomas brings more common sense and Biblical wisdom to bear on a single page than most inspirational writers can muster in an entire book. Most blessed of all, Thomas is almost entirely free from the bad habit of basting pop-psychology with a few Bible verses and calling it Christian. Pure Pleasure is saturated, not so much with biblical quotes as it is with truly Christian thinking. Readers should be grateful that Thomas has drawn from the 2,000-year-old well of Christian wisdom and distilled its rich liqueurs into appetizing and nourishing doses for twenty-first century man. You may think, as I did when I first saw the title, that Pure Pleasure might be too much in tune with the spirit of the age. Do todays Christians really need to be encouraged to enjoy themselves? But be of good cheer, here as always Thomas maintains the delicate balance that such a book requires to be truly Christian. In one sense, writing a book on giving ourselves permission to enjoy pleasure in the twenty-first century seems like the height of absurdity, he writes. Our world drowns in pleasure. But, Thomas suggests, the worst thing Christians can do is over-react and try to shut all pleasure out of their lives. Far better to realize that Christians are human too, and therefore designed to enjoy life in this world.At the same time Thomas reminds us that we are also Spiritual, and therefore called to satisfy our designed-in need for pleasure in ways that honour God. Two quotes get to the heart of his message: Wouldnt you like to explore the potential of building a life of healthy pleasure? And, What if pleasure can lead us to God instead of compete with God? If you answered yes to the first question, then read this book and you will be able to answer the second in the most satisfying ways possible. In short, you will find that even the pleasures of life can help you quench, and yet continue to whet, your thirst for God.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 15, 2009
Customer Avatar
Sig Swanstrom
A Refreshing Bible-based Reminder to Enjoy Lifes Pleasures, Today.I was first introduced to the rare insight of Gary Thomas when I read his book on Christian classics, Seeking the Face of God. Since that time I have eagerly read everything he writes. With this his newest book, Pure Pleasure, we again appreciate Garys rock-solid foundation in God's Word. Pure Pleasure is framed in Scripture and interlaced with pithy time-tested gems of wisdom from our Church Fathers, all woven together by Garys comfortable and accessible writing style. With Pure Pleasure, Gary ties together vibrant threads of spiritual truth to give us a tapestry of fresh insight. It's so refreshing! In a time when even our Christian bookstores are filled with frothy books extolling the pursuit of material wealth and avarice, Pure Pleasure invigorates the reader with sound biblical truth, delivering it on a fresh breeze of renewed hope. Here we gain new understanding of the God-given blessing of joy, freely given by the Creator of the universe who wants to adopt us and make us heirs to His estate. The same God who invented pleasure wants us to enjoy a taste of it today. Friendship, beauty, food, laughter, sex, and family life are just a few of the places to find and revel in God-given pleasure. And pleasure enjoyed in holiness, helps us become winsome ambassadors of our Heavenly Father, too. Gary shows us that identifying and enjoying todays pleasure isnt just okay, but to do less is to insult the Giver of Life who has sacrificed so much for us. I encourage you to read Pure Pleasure if you want to be refreshed, strengthened and encouraged.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 9 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 15, 2009
Customer Avatar
William Wells
Whenever I got a new car, my mom said Ive never seen that car before. A week later, shed said, Those cars are all over the place!I had a similar response after reading Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas. Ive read the verses mentioned in this book before, but as individual verses. Gary challenged my thoughts as he discussed them together. Now I see verses about pleasure all over the place.Through this book, I came to understand that God wants to build healthy pleasure and joy into our lives. Especially important is that our healthy enjoyment pleases Him. In these difficult times, this book is especially meaningful.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 15, 2009
Customer Avatar
Adam Fulton
This is the second time that Gary has rescued a God-ordained Blessing, the first was a love for nature, and the second is pleasure. I thought these would both be lost to "thoughtful avoidance" brought on by misuse, abuse, and misunderstanding. Gary challenges the martyr-faced Christian to enjoy life, laugh out loud, and drink deeply of the simple pleasures God has surrounded us with. This is a must-read for the "stuck", the tired, the duty-driven, and anyone that hasn't sighed with contentment in a long time.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 10, 2009
Customer Avatar
Bob Marvel
I read Pure Pleasure recently while on a trip to Haiti, which provided an interesting contrast. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and there I am reading a book on the enjoyment of pleasure. That, coupled with being from a conservative and sometimes legalistic evangelical background, I found myself wrestling with and rethinking how I feel and act regarding various aspects of this issue.I appreciated Garys balanced approach which avoided the polar extremes of hedonism and asceticism. For some this book will give permission that is desperately needed, for others it will provide parameters to responsibly keep things in check. I personally found it to be, at the same time, freeing, convicting, encouraging and challenging. The concept of pleasure pointing us to God vs competing with God and Pleasure being the servant of holiness not the enemy is a message that we need to embrace. After all, every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights.Often I found myself reading and saying, Yeah, but what about.. only to find that a few paragraphs or pages later my questions, or more accurately, concerns, were addressed. I really enjoyed the book and will no doubt use the content in conversations, sermons and my life.Gary, thank you for your ongoing commitment to helping Gods people live the life we were created to live.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 9, 2009
Customer Avatar
Gary Little
I loved it! "Pure Pleasure" challenged me deeply. While reading it there were multiple times when I had to step back to take a hard look at my life trying to understand better when everything got so out of balance for me. I as especially struck at the thought that GOD takes pleasure in filling our senses with joy and wonder. I now find myself making certain I take time to understand the unique things God has provided for me so I can take pleasure in them. The concept is so new, or maybe it's just that I've been out of balance for so long, that I have to force myself to give myself permission to have fun - godly fun. That said I would have to say that I suggest "Pure Pleasure" is read only by a very select group of people..those still breathing! Read it! It is a great book!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 27, 2009
Customer Avatar
Jon Mutchler (.com)
Theological profound, and immediately practicalReading Pure Pleasure made me recall the agony of a decision I made in college as a young Christian: whether to spend the extra $100 I had to buy a 10-speed bicycle or send that money to missions (I had just heard Keith Greens final Youd better go unless God tells you to stay message). I bought the bike, but not without significant struggle. Since then Ive learned that this ongoing struggle of priorities is part of the Christian life -- the wrestling between spirit and flesh, joy and mourning, enjoyment and sacrifice, faith and works.Thomas book is terrific help in that life long process. As with all his books (Sacred Marriage still my favorite) Gary engages us at a thoughtful biblical, historical, and theological level that immediately connects with real life. His personal experiences (his primary illustrations) are not superficial or shallow, nor glorified and exaggerated boasting; just normal life that we can all understand as he applies Bible truth.The fruit of 2nd century gnosticism (severing spirit from flesh) led, on the one hand, to joyless asceticism and, on the other hand, reckless hedonism. We have both heresies today. And both tendencies can manifest themselves in the most earnest of believers. Pure Pleasure gives us a narrative to avoid either and enter into better worship and life.There is something in Garys book that should challenge everyone. To those who intentionally or unintentionally (through prejudices and misguided traditions) want to rob people of their joys and pure pleasures, Chill out and get a life! (my words). And to those who experience guilt every time they enjoy something from Gods wonderful earth, Relax and relish! This is Gods gracious gift to you. And to those who change pure pleasure into selfish and destructive hedonism, Repent, turn from your idolatry, and buy gold refined by Him!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 22, 2009
Customer Avatar
Virginia Knowles
I am delighted to review Gary Thomas's newest book. If "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine," then this is just what the doctor ordered! There is something about truth that brings both liberty and joy to a heart. I'm thankful that my favorite contemporary author wrote this much-needed book, which seems to me to be a gift from God's own heart. It resonates with all that the Lord has so graciously been showing me in recent years. The theme of this book is that pleasure is a gift from God, designed to renew and satisfy our souls. It draws us to God in gratitude, and helps guard us from illicit temptations that might otherwise pull us away. Rather than always looking on life as a dreary duty, we should embrace and cultivate God-glorifying pleasure. Gary explores such topics as choosing the right pleasures, enjoying life with our families, watching out for excess or impure pleasures, and the healing power of laughter. He alerts us to three signals of not enough pleasure in our lives: tiredness, loneliness/alienation, and lack of joy. He takes into account that different kinds of things make each of us happy, such as sensory pleasures (touching, hearing, tasting, smelling, and looking) or pursuit pleasures (creation, excitement, mental stimulation, relationships, and laughter). I particularly appreciate Gary's extended discussion of how people who try to "mortify sin" through sheer will power are so often unsuccessful because they are not displacing unholy temptations with godly delights. If we want to get the victory over sin, pleasure is one of our most faithful allies. At the end of each chapter, you will find questions for reflection. At the conclusion of the book, there are additional questions that can be used with the small group video curriculum. Many Scriptures and quotes from classic Christian literature (Francis Fenelon, G.K. Chesterton, etc.) are woven throughout each chapter as well. Pure Pleasure deserves a careful and joyful read!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 15 for Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 18, 2009
Customer Avatar
Erik Johnson
Ive just spent a most pleasurable weekend finishing Gary Thomas Pure Pleasure. This excellent book was not only enriching (convicting!) but I found my enthusiasm for Garys insights growing page by page. As a therapist I am eager to recommend this well-balanced book to clients who suffer from rigid scrupulosity (guilt and fear for experiencing pleasure) and to those who suffer from the residue of unbridled pleasure. The chapter on family pleasure and being a servant of other's joy is worth the price of the book. Anti-pleasure ascetics will have a difficult time answering Garys relentless, tightly reasoned, and winsome defense of pure pleasure which is anchored in both scripture and classic Christian spiritual writers. Highly recommended!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.