If a country is completely lacking God, the people are less likely to treat others with grace, author Larry Taunton says. He discovered that when he and his wife adopted a Ukranian child, Sasha.
Taunton spoke to The Christian Post about his new book, The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief. In the book, he uses the family’s heartwarming journey through the adoption process as a background for the larger political question of how atheism is now threatening American society.
He said Sasha is a perfect example of the effects of a country that is totally without God, and how grace transformed her – and her family’s – life.
“Have you ever seen ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’?” he asked. “This book is giving a glimpse of what the world would look like without the George Baileys of this world, in a sort of Pottersville.”
“Sasha grew up in a sort of Pottersvillle – a very, very harsh world … where children aren’t even given toilet paper,” he said.
The book details Sasha’s challenges with HIV and several other aspects of Sasha’s life, both in the Ukraine, and as an adopted child in the United States. In one touching chapter, Taunton recalls how he struggled to teach her the English language.
“Sasha never had any meaningful education,” he writes in the book. “So … I decided to sit down with Sasha to teach her the alphabet. Not surprisingly, Sasha asserted her strong will and refused to cooperate.”
However, as a former educator he said he “knew the difference between defiance that is motivated by disrespect and defiance that is born of a lack of confidence. … Sasha’s education had been badly neglected, like so much else in her life.”
Taunton said because he knew the love and grace of Jesus Christ, he was able to use the same grace to patiently teach Sasha.
“This book is about how Christ touches a society through his people, even if [many parts of society] are cold and lifeless,” he highlighted. “This isn’t a theological treatise, this is a powerful story.”
The author believes that the United States is a nation with lingering Christian influence, as he found grace in the process of raising Sasha.
“Why is it that we in the West have more concern for the lower classes, for the poor? Because of the grace effect,” Taunton told CP. “It tends to be a more sensitive world.”
Sasha is now 13 and just “thriving,” Taunton said. “There are things she is so grateful for – she loves a hot shower.”
“Educationally, she’s struggling and her health will always be an issue,” he said, but she is a true story of triumph “through grace given and grace received.”
He hopes readers will come away “with a better understanding of how grace affects their lives.”
Other accounts readers will find in his book include an 11-hour car trip where he and bestselling author and atheist Christopher Hitchens debate the New Testament book of John and atheism.
“It was wonderful,” Taunton said, recalling the conversation.
Taunton is the founder of Fixed Point Foundation, an organization dedicated to promote Christianity in the public square. The group produced the widely viewed John 3:16 Super Bowl commercial.
On the Web: http://fixed-point.org/
Correction: Friday, Nov. 25, 2011
An article on November 23, 2011, on The Grace Effect, incorrectly reported that Taunton said America was a Christian nation. The Christian Post confirmed with the author that in the book, he said America is a nation with lingering Christian influence.