There is no arguing with the fact that the Judeo-Christian ethic helped shape the United States Constitution and the government of the United States. Inherent in the formation of our nation is the idea that people are “endowed by their creator” with certain “rights.” The government doesn’t bequeath those rights. They are ours and they are inalienable. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. When humans are not viewed as having inalienable rights, life becomes cheap — a mere commodity. In his book The Grace Effect, author Larry Taunton compares and contrasts the societies of the United States and the Ukraine through the lens of his family’s experience adopting a Ukrainian girl named Sasha. In the Ukraine, Sasha was a commodity.
The Soviet experiment failed. Life in a Soviet Bloc country was as Hobbs wrote in Leviathan, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Many countries today are living with the inertia from the Soviet way of life. The Ukraine is one of them. In describing his experiences with corrupt government officials, and people who are resigned to such corruption, Taunton makes a good case for the concept of “common grace.” He writes, “[Common grace is] the idea that when there is a significant Christian presence in a given society, it brings tangible benefits not just to the Christian, but to society as a whole.” When power and money are the only things of value, life, especially the life of a child (or anyone who is not rich or powerful) becomes devalued to the point of worthlessness.
Rather than the dry, theological treatise I had expected after the first chapter, I found the book quite engaging. Throughout the story, I found myself humbled by the strength of a little girl, raised in appalling conditions, who retained her spirit and sense of joy and trust. The Grace Effect is a fascinating read for anyone contemplating the differences between life in the United States and life in a country stripped of any real Christian influence.
***BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.***