This coming February I will be taking part in a blog tour for Gary Thomas’ latest book, the phenomenal Pure Pleasure. When I was invited to do the review, the title intrigued me [subtitled: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?] and I wondered if this was a thinly-veiled book about having hot sex and feeling great about it. You can imagine, my husband was thrilled to see it on the nightstand.
While Thomas certainly incorporates the gift of intimacy within marriage into his thesis, the broad topic of pleasure in general has been so compelling that I’m finding myself dog-earring or underlining something on almost every page. Because we’ve been asked to save our reviews for next month, I’m tapping into my shallow well of personal restraint and will end this post with a brief quote. Think about this as you move through your day and allow yourself to ponder whether you’ve been snuffing out God-given gifts of enjoyment and fellowship in the name of piety. Just as your heart leaps in excitement to see your children explode with gratitude on Christmas morning, imagine the Lord’s joy when, rather than rejecting his good and perfect gifts [James 1:17], we accept them with light in our eyes and thanksgiving on our tongues.
“Prayer and fellowship are among life’s richest pleasures, but let’s not stop there. Let us learn to fill our souls with beauty, art, noble achievement, fine meals, rich relationships, and soul-cleansing laughter. When we acknowledge these pleasures, we acknowledge God as a genius creator of brilliant inventions. Let us be wary of a faith that denies these blessings as “worldly” and unfit, as though Satan rather than God had designed them. Let us refuse to fall into the enemy’s trap of denying ourselves God’s good pleasures so that we end up deeply vulnerable to illicit pleasure.” [pg. 17]