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

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  114 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Discover the power of guilt-free pleasure.

Pleasure is a good thing. It’s a powerful force that feeds your relationships, helps protect your spiritual integrity, and brings delight to our heavenly Father. Pleasure isn’t something Christians should fear, shun, or disparage; it’s something we should learn to cultivate in our lives.

Acclaimed spiritual growth author Gary Thomas
Paperback, 251 pages
Published October 24th 2009 by Zondervan (first published October 2nd 2009)
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Garland Vance
Jul 06, 2014 Garland Vance rated it it was amazing
Gary Thomas tackles the questions that surround the role of pleasure in a Christian's life. Should Christians spend money and time and energy on the things that they enjoy. More personally, should I spend time and money on good coffee and racquetball and novels?

I appreciate that this book is nuanced. Thomas doesn't offer simple answers, but he pushes Christians to learn how to delight in God through his gifts without making those gifts into idols.

I found this book to be engaging and incredible
Feb 27, 2010 Amydeanne rated it it was amazing
Can we as Christians have pleasure?

I think some of us get so caught up with all the bad stuff that we think God doesn’t want us to enjoy life. It is really far from the truth isn’t it? I mean we don’t have to be stifled in our pleasures to love the Lord more do we? Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas talks exactly about that. He presents issues about God that we struggle with. How to have a healthy pleasure, and what they are.

I was delightfully surprised when I started reading this. Gary has his feet f
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual, self-help
"We consider 'pleasure' a synonym for 'sin.' If it feels good, we think, it must be the devil's handmaiden." Christians can have the false dilemma of seeking pleasure OR doing what's right. Gary Thomas sets the record straight and carefully lays out the premise that seeking pleasure IS doing right.

Christians need to get their minds right and begin to believe that the community of God is a party.

Rather than living 'not to sin,' Christians need to begin living for pleasure. It doesn't even sound r
Catherine Gillespie
Jul 29, 2015 Catherine Gillespie rated it liked it
Shelves: faith
In his book Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad about Feeling Good? Gary Thomas looks at how taking enjoyment and pleasure in legitimate, God-given ways keeps you from being tempted toward destructive attempts to fill that need.

Thomas exposes a lot of the “respectable sins” Christians turn to for an outlet while they are busy avoiding more visible sins (like gluttony, or making an idol out of frugality at the expense of your family), making the point again that if we accept pleasure and
Richard Duncan
Mar 26, 2015 Richard Duncan rated it it was amazing
Gary Thomas shows how Jesus sets free the do-more, try-harder, type A, high D, guilt-ridden, holier-than-thou joyless believer. After reading The Happy Christian by David Murray, this well written book has helped me more fully embrace the fact that pleasure, rightly pursued, can be an act of worship. I was convicted about how my duty–driven life has failed to be as Wynsum as it could have been had I embraced the good gifts of laughter, fun, and pleasure that God has so graciously made available. ...more
Jim Jim
May 17, 2015 Jim Jim rated it it was amazing
This book packed in the amount of material I expected it would take 10 books to cover. Absolutely annihilates the misconception that pleasure/fun/laughter/enjoyment/silliness/hobbies/killing time/relaxing interfere with the life of God in the soul of man. Rather, Thomas demonstrates again and again, legitimate pleasures serve as a much-needed bastion against temptation to illegitimate pleasures.

Can't recommend enough to those who, like me, grew up too distracted by "duty" to notice delight.
Feb 05, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
I think a Christian must have first said the words "guilty pleasure"--- because sometimes we seem to be incapable of separating the two. Our understanding of the importance of fleeing sin, dying to ourselves, & focusing on God has often confused us of the place of pleasure in the life of a follower of Christ.

We seem to swing between the two extremes of rejecting any "earthly" thing that feels good or else embracing anything and everything under the justification that God loves us and wants
Jan 10, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it
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 that are condemned in the Bible. It shows how appropriate pleasure done in the God-ordained context will help prevent a Christian from being tempted by inappropriate behavior.

Chapter one gave the premise of the book. Chapters two through f
Feb 08, 2010 Pastoralmusings rated it it was amazing
Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas
I've known that Gary Thomas was out there writing books, but this is the first book of his that I have read. That being said, I enjoyed Pure Pleasure.
Thomas has a way of writing that is easy on the reader. His writing is simple and down-to-earth. I like that. He is also a transparent writer. We are not left wondering what he thinks, nor whether he struggles as we do: he speaks openly and honestly on these subjects.
Thomas deals with the question that has plagued many C
Mad Russian the Traveller
I am beginning this review shortly before reading the book; I have purchased the book for my wife but I was provoked by the thesis to start debunking what may be the wrong thing to say to many in the Church. I am going into this with a highly skeptical attitude because here in America, we have the problem of too much pleasure. I will change this review after I have read the book. From the bits that my wife has read to me already and the cover blurbs and the other reviews, I have to say that only ...more
May 09, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, read-2012
The premise of this book is that Christians often feel guilty about taking pleasure in life. I wasn't too sure that I agreed; I was frankly surprised at his suggestion coming from a fairly materialistic culture. But he makes some good points. We can spend so much time trying to avoid doing wrong that we forget to take pleasure in what is good - in the abundance of what God has created. He suggests that sometimes we fall into temptation because of boredom, or because something is wrong in our liv ...more
Adam Shields
May 26, 2010 Adam Shields rated it really liked it
Full review at

Short review: This is the second book I have read by Gary Thomas and I again am very impressed. Christians often think that pleasure must be bad because so much pleasure can be taken too far and become sin. But Thomas makes a good case that pleasure was created by God and part of being human. The rejection of pleasure is a rejection of God. He is clear all pleasure is not good, but it is worse to reject pleasure out of hand. I think it was a
Feb 27, 2014 Lisa marked it as to-read
John Cook Recommendation
Jul 29, 2013 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every believer in Jesus
God wants us to enjoy the Christian life and our relationship with Him. He came that we might have LIFE and have it ABUNDANTLY! That is not simply a promise of what we will have in heaven as we come into His presence. It also includes joy and fullness in life today. God wants us to enjoy life as we enjoy Him. We can glorify God as we enjoy Him and the life that He gives to us.
Paige Gordon
Jun 18, 2013 Paige Gordon rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! Mr Thomas does a splendid job reminding Christians that it is healthy to enjoy the pleasures that God put on this earth if we do so in the way that He intended. This book goes straight to the point and is a great wake-up call and warning about how we should change our approach to enjoying this life. Definitely on my recommended reading list!
Feb 05, 2010 Butch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-my-kindle
Very good book about a precious gift given by God but often mis-trusted by Christians. If you've been guilty of being suspicious of anything that feels good, you need to read this book. Would be great in combination with Worldliness by C J Mahaney.
Mar 19, 2010 Brenda rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
I downloaded this (legally :)) from Gary Thomas' website. I've read and liked several of his other books, but this is by far the best! I needed the reminder that Godly pleasure is crucial to a healthy Christian life and honoring to God. Very encouraging.
Aug 28, 2012 Brooke rated it liked it
Other than that I found this book to be very repetitive, there were some very insightful points that I needed to hear. Loved the idea/topic of the book. Thomas is a fantastic writer that speaks in a manner that anyone can understand.
Mar 24, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
So encouraging, and so helpful-- a nicely balanced look at the topic and one that seems to give a much-needed corrective to much of modern culture's perspective on pleasure, from both sides of the Christian fence.
Christa Hogan
Jun 04, 2015 Christa Hogan rated it really liked it
One of the best books of it's kind I've ever read. Freeing, inspiring. A must read for every Christian tired of being made to feel bad for living joyfully.
Edward Lee
Sep 07, 2010 Edward Lee rated it really liked it
Another good one from Gary Thomas. I really enjoyed this book, helped to free me of some of my Christian traditions that have no basis.
Oct 16, 2011 Carla rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-adult, nf
This must have been a hard book to write. Have to be careful but he handled it well! This guy is one of my fav authors!
Dan Bates
Apr 14, 2013 Dan Bates rated it really liked it
I really liked his thesis and not much else, this should have been an essay not a full blown book.
Rachel Olsen
Mar 12, 2012 Rachel Olsen rated it it was amazing
In my top 3 favorite books of 2010 because it shaped my theology indelibly.
Jared Totten
Aug 11, 2011 Jared Totten rated it really liked it
Coming soon...
Bethany Colgrove
Bethany Colgrove marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016
Joshua Coper
Joshua Coper rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2016
Michelle Polk
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Jan 27, 2016
Nathan Marchand
Nathan Marchand marked it as to-read
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Gary Thomas is a writer, speaker and the founder and director of the Center for Evangelical Sprirituality - a ministry that integrates Scripture, church history and the Christian classics. He's spoken in 49 states, four coutries and his books have been translated into eleven languages. His books have won and be
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