Monday, August 31, 2015

So you want to be a "Street God"?

Good kids, from good parents, who go to good schools grow up to be good parents with good kids, right? Maybe not so much so. Dimas Salaberrios, whose mother and father were respectively a school Principal and a Corrections officer (ex-Air Force at that) had everything going for him, or so it seemed. There was one thing lacking in his young life. He wanted fame and fortune, he wanted to be a Street God.  This book, Street God: the Explosive True Story of a Former Drug Boss on the Run from the Hood – and the Courageous Mission that Drove Him Back (Tyndale Momentum, 2015) is the story of how Salaberrios got what he thought he wanted, and what it cost him.  But it doesn’t stop there, because at some point in his broken life, Jesus got hold of Dimas and changed his life.
                First of all the ‘negative’: I didn’t care much for the writing style, but that’s personal preference. This is not the kind of book I typically read, but something about the title, and the jacket blurb caught my attention, so I requested a review copy from the publisher. The style may not be to my liking, but the story itself is compelling and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.
And the rest is positive:
                This is an autobiography and Salaberrios offers the disclaimer that the story is as he best remembers, with some identifying details blurred for the obvious reasons of not violating someone else’s privacy.
The story starts with 11 year old Dimas entering the drug business, and follows his path upwards in that dark world. He recounts how he came to control his own territory, the turf wars that he engaged in, and various encounters with the law.  Along the way he spent time in jail, made several geographic changes, and more than once broke his momma’s heart
Several times, though, people planted seeds in the young man’s heart. Seeds of the love of Jesus, and over time, (sometimes despite his best efforts) the seeds grew. And the story of the “wanna- be”, self-styled Street God takes on a new direction.  Jesus loved Dimas into His kingdom, nurtured him and watched him grow. Today Dimas is a pastor, a speaker, and living proof that God can take the some of the roughest raw material and turn it into something beautiful.
In today’s culture where we tend to label people and then put them into boxes from which they can’t escape, this is a refreshing story. In a culture where the prevailing attitude is ‘what’s in it for me?’, we need to hear how some people make that change from self-serving to  serving God and serving others. This is a story of redemption and a story of hope.
None of us are exempt from the lure of sin and pride can bring down the strongest of the strong. If anyone else tried to tell Dimas' story, it would probably come across quite differently, and wouldn't make anywhere near as powerful an impact. 
Dimas  tells his emotionally charged story without the offensive language and graphic details that we have almost come to expect. Surprisingly enough, his story is just as effective without the profanity or gore. I highly recommend "Street God"  because this story comes from the heart…it's not another 'reality TV' type of story. 
You may think that younger children shouldn't hear this kind of story…remember Dimas Salaberrios was 11 when he started selling drugs.  When should your kids hear what drugs can lead to? Our culture is already telling them that there's nothing wrong with using drugs.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing a review expressing my honest opinion. There was no requirement to write a positive review.  


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