Nov. 20, 2006 — -- For most of his career, Stephen Baldwin, the youngest of Hollywood's four famous Baldwin brothers, cultivated a reputation as a bad boy, both on screen and off. In a new book, "The Unusual Suspect," he writes about "snorting enough cocaine to throw the entire population of a small South American country into anaphylactic shock."
But Stephen Baldwin, the man born into Hollywood royalty, has been born again. Just how exactly did the guy who played a crook in critically-acclaimed "The Usual Suspects," and a stoner in the bomb "Biodome," become an evangelical Christian youth minister?
Six years ago, Baldwin's wife, Kennya, became a born again Christian. Then came 9/11. Baldwin says he concluded that if terrorists could topple the towers, then Jesus could come back tomorrow.
"Jesus is coming back and if you really know what that means, and if you are experiencing and understanding what that's all about, that's pretty urgent," Baldwin says. "Fires are burning all over America. This is biblical stuff." He points to three major recent tragedies -- 9/11, the tsunami in eastern Asia, and Hurricane Katrina -- as signs that Jesus is returning.
Baldwin's change of heart (and mind, and lifestyle) has inspired a lot of skepticism. The Daily Show asked, "What the f*** is wrong with Stephen Baldwin?!"
But Baldwin insists his new direction is based profoundly in his experience.
"It's real, it's changed my life, it's transformed my heart, I'm not who I was," Baldwin says. "No longer … do I feel the pressure of, 'how fancy are my shoes? Or what kind of car am I driving? Or how much money do I make?' None of that matters to me anymore … I'm having a daily experience with the spirit of God that's more priceless than anything I've experienced before."
After his conversion, Baldwin says he quickly found that Christianity lacked a certain edge. So Baldwin decided to fill Christianity's gnarly niche by starting a youth ministry that evangelizes with skateboards, bikes and motorcross.