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with Jesus

By David Werther.

Dion, Tankful of Blues (Blue Horizon Ventures, 2011)

Dion DiMucci with Mike Aquilina, Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth; Stories, Humor & Music (Servant Books 2011), 144 pages.

A combination book and music review by David Werther.

           Dion compares the young Augustine to a rock star, "a celebrity poet, very bright, who loved the ladies." Disavowing any literary pretensions, Dion refers to The Wanderer Talks Truth as his spiritual testament, his own Confessions. That testament has a soundtrack, Bronx Poem, the final song on Tankful of Blues. Halfway through, Dion sings, "I don't want to underestimate what he [God] can do in my life," a line that expresses the essence of The Wanderer Talks Truth.

           Like C.S. Lewis, Dion had two conversions, first to theism, in 1968, and then to Christianity, in 1979. The first came when Dion asked his father-in-law, Jack, to pray for him. In response, Jack encouraged Dion to pray, "God loves to hear from strangers" (p. 73). Dion asked for help and immediately received it: "I got down on my knees, just as I'd seen Jack doing, and in my own inimitable, rambling way, I asked God to take away my obsession with alcohol, to break the chains. And he did — just like that. Since that moment I've never taken a drink or done drugs. I've never wanted to. It was as if God was just waiting for me to ask" (p. 73).

           Like his conversion to theism, Dion's turning to Christianity was the result of an immediate and dramatic answer to prayer: "I was out jogging like every morning. As I went along I prayed, 'God it would be nice to be closer to you.' Suddenly, I was flooded with white light. It was everywhere, inside me, outside me — everywhere. Ahead of me I saw a man with his arms outstretched. 'I love you,' he said. 'Don't you know that? I'm your friend. I laid down my life for you. I'm here for you'" (p. 79).

           Reflecting on that experience, Dion writes, "Yet here is something mysterious: The more I changed, the more I became like myself. God was, and still is, finishing up his creation" (p. 79). Here Dion echoes the theme Lewis closed Mere Christianity with: "Until you have given your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among 'natural men,' not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints." Dion's glorious difference shines in Bronx Poem. Only he can sing "Yo! Hallelujah!"

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