Via the wonderful site, The Hater, which is a bonanza of pop culture snark, comes an interview in Radar with Stephen Baldwin, the baby of the Baldwin acting clan.
The interview is tied to the release of his new book, The Unusual Suspect: My Calling to the New Hardcore Movement of Faith. The interviewer isn't very nice to Baldwin, that is if you think it's not nice to treat a person who is not particularly bright as if they are not particularly bright.
It seems that Baldwin came to faith in Christ a few years ago after many years of "enjoying" the kinds excesses that success in Hollywood affords a person. And I'm glad he did. That said, I wish he weren't "writing" books, at least not yet.
It appears that Baldwin is just one more in a sadly long line of celebrities who come to Christ (a good thing) and then are exploited by the people around them and pushed out front in roles for which they often are suited and certainly aren't ready, which I think is a really bad thing.
I'm not really angry with Baldwin. In the interview, he comes across as genuine in his faith, but also genuinely shallow. And I don't blame his ghostwriter, Mark Tabb, who at least from his bio seems like a good guy who is making a living as a writer.
I am angry at the people around him, the Christian "leaders" who somehow either directly encouraged Baldwin to start his "ministry" or who didn't have the courage or the integrity to tell him "no way" or at least "not yet" if Baldwin suggested this himself.
While Baldwin is certainly able to speak with authority about his own experiences, he clearly isn't ready to propose a new approach to Christian faith and comment on various social issues, as he appears to do in the book. Maybe some day, Baldwin will have the maturity and insight to address these things, but sadly celebrity seems to short circuit the maturation process. Silly, shallow things said by celebrities are still silly and shallow, and it distresses me to no end when Christians are either unwilling or unable to see this.
So in calling out Baldwin, I'm really calling out his pastor or whomever else is mentoring him in his faith. Encouraging someone to speak or comment on issues that they have neither the maturity nor the smarts to address is a pastoral crime, and it needs to stop.
Oh, and another word to whomever is mentoring him. If the guy your working with can't speak clearly or insightfully about basic biblical matters but has very clear opinions on George Bush and Bill Clinton, (as Baldwin does in the interview) you need to really rethink your approach. Seriously. Please.