Hardcore Faith: Interview with Stephen Baldwin
The actor talks about his new short film, his skateboarding ministry, and why it's OK to call the Lord 'dude.'
BY: Interview by Laura Sheahen
The festival itself would be with music and entertainment--and the skate park area would be some of the top professional skate and BMX athletes who happened to be Christian giving full-blown Gospel presentations in between [skating] tricks--like a 40-minute sermon. And then actually coordinate it in advance with churches through the Palau Association.
There would be follow-up connection to a church, discipleship. It's not just a hit-it-and-quit kind of thing. It's really wanting to impact the youth with the understanding of the decision and how to stay connected.
In the "Livin' It" video, a pastor talks about John 3:16 being one of the "raddest verses in the Bible." What would you say is the raddest verse?
One that I write in a lot of the Bibles of young men who ask me to sign their Bibles is Matthew 11:12, which talks about how the kingdom has been advancing since John by force.
On the video, there's a song with the refrain "Hollywood is burning down." You've said that taking an idea about Jesus to Hollywood is like taking it to the devil. What do you think about Hollywood? Can it be evangelized from within?
I have no interest in changing Hollywood. Hollywood is a place so consumed by the spirit of the world that I don't even want to try to think about how to infiltrate that.
Right now, the best way to change Hollywood is to convert the youth of this country to faith so that they can go out and do whatever the Lord calls them to do. There is this extreme movement of the Holy Spirit that's coming to this country, and I think that's going to hit Hollywood as well. I think you're going to see very famous people coming to faith.
Famous people like Mel Gibson, you mean? Celebrities highlighting their faith?
Mel's situation is more unique, just the stars lined up in that reality. The Lord prepared him. Mel hasn't come out and said, "Jesus Christ is this and that." He made a movie and to define or explain all that he talked about his faith.
I think you're going to see something different where you're going to see people who have been looked upon as celebrities and very worldly coming outwardly and professing their faith and their conversion stories. I don't know any personally, that's just my prediction.
Can you talk about the tattoos on your arms?
This one is for the King of Kings Skateboard Ministry that I work with. This one is just a sword that says `Worship Jesus.' Got them all in the last two years.
Do you have a favorite prayer?
Scripture is the thing I like to share with people more than anything. My prayer reality is quite kooky. I have this very unique dialogue with the Lord. I utilize my own sort of street vocabulary--nothing slang that would be unacceptable.
Not a lot of individuals get to refer to the Lord in their prayers as "dude," but he's doing a new thing. There might be some people out there that don't agree with me, but don't think that the Lord has called me to preach to them.
You're starting a new record label. What kind of music will you focus on?
Here's my vision for the label. Number one this will be mostly new hardcore rock bands. The key to their success potentially is going to be the distribution ideology which, again, is "don't take your Jesus idea to the enemy." It's going to be independently financed, independently marketed, independently distributed by Christians for the world, as opposed to taking my idea to Sony, who doesn't understand the spiritual side of the Christian movement in America.
You've said the faith-based culture can be 'more hardcore' than the mainstream. What's cool about being hardcore?
I said `as hardcore' and Brian [Head, formerly of the band Korn] said, `no, dude, more hardcore.'
I don't think it's really a matter of importance as far as what's good about it. I think what's important is that you have a generation of youth in this country that really genuinely worship and love Jesus Christ. They just don't have a platform.
You've said "Against my will, my evangelism has become very important to me." Why is it so important to witness? Some people say you can give witness to Christ through your actions; you don't really have to talk about it.
That's wonderful for those people, but unfortunately 12-year-olds are getting pregnant--really horrible things are happening out there. From my perspective, [it's] because they don't have the knowledge in the spiritual realm to protect and defend themselves.
There are a lot of kids consumed by the content in the world. We live in an MTV culture. I was listening to Hot 97 hip-hop radio station the other day to hear five minutes of what their content was. It was literally a whole radio show about a young girl having sex with as many people as possible and how cool and fun and edgy that was. On the eastern seaboard of America, millions and millions of kids are hearing that and are being programmed to believe that.
So Stephen Baldwin can, through as many media outlets possible, walk his walk. But unless I turn to those kids and say, "Hey, you know what? That's wrong and there's a way for you to have a better life through a spiritual walk and a spiritual understanding in God". they're going to have weapons like a helmet and a shield and a sword to decipher and have a choice. The youth culture can be cool, edgy hardcore and fun in their faith. That's the change I am trying to be a part of.