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The Grace Effect is written by Larry Alex Taunton, the founder and executive director of Fixed Point Foundation, an initiative designed to promote and defend Christianity in the public square. Taunton has publicly debated critics of Christianity, but The Grace Effect is much more than a debate on the far reaching impact of grace. It is the personal story of Taunton’s quest to adopt his daughter, Sasha, from Ukraine.
In relating the story of the Taunton family’s adoption of Sasha, a 10 year old Ukrainian orphan, Taunton describes the differences between a society based on Christianity (the United States) and a society based on the notion that there is no God (Ukraine).
In order to adopt Sasha, Larry Taunton and his family traveled to Ukraine. In the process of adoption, they had to deal with many government officials who were more concerned with bribes and “gifts” than they were with the welfare of Ukrainian orphans.
Throughout the adoption process, Taunton made note of the difference that grace, grace based on Christianity, makes in a society, right down to how society treats the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned. The difference is stark.
As I read The Grace Effect, the intellectual side of me loved the social contrast. I was, after all, a sociology major in college, so comparing two cultures is right up my alley.
But more importantly, as I read Sasha’s story…the life she endured before adoption by the Tauntons, I found myself thankful to live in the United States, a country that tries to take care of it’s orphans. Since becoming a foster parent, I am well aware of the deficiencies in our own system. But the problems in our foster care system seem tame in comparison to the problems of the orphanages in the Ukraine. We value the lives of the poor and orphaned. In Ukraine, it seems that such lives are deemed worthless.
And that is the difference between a society based on the belief that there is a saving God and a society which acknowledges no God. Though the United States is not a Christian nation, it reaps the benefits of the many citizens who believe in Christ. For those who only believe in the here and now, rather than a heaven and hell, what is the purpose of serving anyone but themselves? The United States has the benefit of the Grace Effect.
The Grace Effect is both an emotional and an intellectual read. You will get a history lesson, a heart wrenching story, and you will walk away more determined to live out our faith in your daily life. At least that’s what I got out of this book. I recommend it!
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