Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: The Greener Grass Conspiracy


I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who loves a good conspiracy theory. Judging from the movie industry, I'd say I'm not alone. Perhaps that is why Stephen Altrogee and Crossway chose to title this new release The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence. What sets this book apart from those movies is that this book moves beyond theory, into reality.

"What is this conspiracy?" you may ask. "It's a conspiracy between the world, my heart, and Satan to steal my happiness" (pg. 12). It's serious stuff, my friends, with implications in this life and the next, but don't think that it makes for a boring book. God has blessed Stephen Altrogee with a great sense of humor and it shines through on almost every page of this book without detracting from the important message within. (You even have to make sure you read all of the footnotes because the humor is stashed there as well. ;)

Whether you know it or not, you and I are at war.

"When we don't get what we so desperately want, we throw the adult version of a temper tantrum. Our passions rage within us. We become angry at God and discontent with life. We grumble and complain, and happiness appears to be out of reach. We become a casualty of war" (pg. 19).

Do you want to avoid becoming "a casualty of war"? Do you want to know the secret of happiness and contentment? The answer may not be what you think. Learning the truth can be a lot like major surgery, but in the long run, embracing the truth will save your life.

The Greener Grass Conspiracy is deep, yet the message is articulated clearly. Altrogee has spent time learning from the Puritans (largely Jeremiah Burroughs and Thomas Watson) and has taken the best of their ideas and made them accessible to a new generation. Most importantly, this book is Biblical and Altrogee keeps his focus on the Good News of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us.

Satan leads us to believe that God is holding out on us.

"The truth is, God will never withhold from us. The greatest, irrefutable proof of God's generosity is Calvary. Look at the beloved Son, ridiculed by the masses, beaten beyond recognition, hanging upon a cross, slowly suffocating, dying for sinners like you and me. God gave up what was most precious to him so that he could save sinners who hated him. If God was willing to do that, won't he also give us every good thing that we need? In Romans 8:32 Paul puts it this way: 'He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?' (pg. 52)

The best way to fight sin in your life is to learn and meditate on the truth of God's Word. Altrogee writes:

"Satan invites me to find satisfaction in something other than God. It doesn't matter if it's pornography or community service, as long as it's not God" (pg. 13).

Do you believe that God is all-satisfying? Do you believe that He has control over all that happens and uses it for the good of those who love Him? What you believe to be true about God radically shapes how you live your life. Don't be deceived! Know the truth! Uncover the "conspiracy" with Altrogee in this excellent book; it can change your life.

(P.S. If you've ever whined or complained or been unhappy about anything, this book is for you. Basically, this is a book for us all. ;)

Want to read another review of this title? Becky has composed a great post @ Caffeinated Theology.

*Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!


Trisha said...

Great review, and I'm glad to hear about this book. I'm reading The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and I'm loving it. (I do get frustrated that we feel the need to "modernize" old things so everyone will get it, but that's just my pet peeve. I want everyone to simply apply themselves and read the originals.....LOL!)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jody said...

Great review. As you can read from my review I really liked this book, anyone who has ever complained or wished their life were different can be helped by this book.

Becky said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for another good review.

I agree when you say that the Puritan's influence is clearly seen in Altrogge's book. Maybe, this will be a good spring board that will draw more people to read the works of Burroughs and Watson on Contentment.

Thank you, also, for recommending my review of this book.

Hugs to you!

Deb said...

Nice review. I agree with your summary and liked the quotes you highlighted. Blessings in Christ!

Jeremiah said...

Thanks for stopping by I agree that Altrogge is strongest when he is clearly pointing the reader to specific scripture in context and when he is encouraging them to "meditate on the truth of God's Word".

As a writer at a blog I know I struggle with contentment when it pertains to readership. This has been addressed at "Band of Bloggers" Conference a number of times. The question might go something like this :: "Am I content in Christ to learn what He would have me to learn by writing whether anyone notices it, links to it, reTweets it or not.

I'm giving away a copy of "The Greener Grass Conspiracy" at