Book Review of Stephen Altrogge’s “The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence”

Altrogge, S. 2011. The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence. Crossway: Wheaton, IL

I want to thank Crossway for this review copy.

Stephen Altrogge is a gifted young man in the Sovereign Grace Ministries network that has blessed the broader church more notably through his music, but has now authored his second book. The aim of this book is to encourage Christians to truly find the Godliness and contentment that equate true riches. This topic can be applied broadly, but I think Altrogge speaks more effectively to a younger audience.  He is often humorous and makes use of illustrations that would resonate with a 20-30 something audience.

Altrogge essentially notes how we all live under this conspiracy to live life in continual want and dissatisfaction. Advertisers depend upon dissatisfaction to peddle their new and improved version of everything under the sun and young folks are willing to go in debt to attain the riches of the world. Solomon is summoned as a great example of the vanity in the riches of this world apart from Christ. Altrogge effectively contextualizes Solomon in a modern context to illustrate how Solomon was rich and yet miserable. Altrogge is full of helpful illustrations and biographical transparency as he drives home the overarching goal of finding true riches in Christ.

The most powerful chapter for me personally was “Eat the Meat and Die”. Altrogge exposes how sinister complaining and discontentment really are by relating how God dealt with the complaining of the exodus generation.

Numbers 11:1–3 (ESV) — 1 And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them.

Numbers 11:31–33 (ESV) — 31 Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. 32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague.

God essentially gave what His complaining whining people wanted. He gave it to them in abundance and as they sought to gorge themselves, just as the quail was in their mouth, God sends a plague. The lesson is clear: getting what we want will kill us. What we should want is Christ and in Him we find joys evermore. Altrogge is a Christian hedonist in the mold of John Piper who offers what I would consider a great primer on finding joy in Christ for a younger audience. I give this book 4/5 stars. It was a quick edifying read.

© 2011, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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