Pure Pleasure (by Gary Thomas)

I very much enjoyed reading Gary Thomas's thoughtful book 'Sacred Pathways' a couple of years ago, and decided I might try reading something else he had written. However, it took me this long to decide to buy one that had been recommended in several places.

The premise of 'Pure Pleasure' is that Christians often feel guilty about taking pleasure - sensual or otherwise - in life. I wasn't too sure that I agreed; I was frankly surprised at Thomas's suggestion, coming as he does 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 lives, and that this may often be solved by relaxation, intimacy or a good hobby.

There are chapters focussing on different themes within the overall idea of Christians taking pleasure in their lives. The author points out that Jesus enjoyed many good things - he was accused of being a glutton and drunkard by his enemies, which suggests that he loved to relax over a good meal and a glass of wine.

Thomas asks the reader to consider what they enjoy doing, and to make time to do whatever it is - we are not created for continual work or suffering.

A balance is needed, of course, and we're also warned about too much pleasure, about the dangers of materialism, and about apparently 'safe' pleasures that can lead us into serious problems.

I don't know that I found this life-changing, but it was reassuring and encouraging in a low-key kind of way, and very readable. There are plenty of personal anecdotes which made it more interesting, even though rather a lot of them were related to running.


Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 8th May 2012

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