Over the last few years, the world has seen many things, including the rise of grassroots fundraising and political campaigns, and actor Stephen Baldwin’s re-emergence as a born-again Christian. Now, these two things combine, and for good measure, invoke the biblical story of Job as a framework to inspire donations to restore the wealth of the actor we used to refer to as “the blond Baldwin.” (via Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish) The character of Job is used to invoke intense, all-encompassing suffering, the loss of everything that a man could hold dear. In this case, the organization and website called Restore Stephen Baldwin invokes not just the image of a suffering man, but of the community’s power to alleviate that suffering. By offering a token gift, each community member will be able to help restore Stephen Baldwin the way Job’s community helped to restore him.According to the “privately funded and managed website,” the fact that Baldwin has become a voice for preaching the word of God, and because of his convictions “it has caused him the loss of many jobs and the most recently, a highly publicized bankruptcy. He has been publicly ridiculed and insulted by people who think that he has been abandoned by God. A simple search through the internet will reveal that people not only mock Stephen, but mock God.”And why does Baldwin’s wealth need to be restored? The FAQ is glad you asked:
Q- Why does Stephen need personal wealth?A- Stephen’s influence is in Hollywood. Hollywood worships money and without it you are seen as a loser and cannot be an effective influence to this group.
While you may or may not be sensitive to Baldwin’s image in Hollywood, one interesting thought comes as the website asks visitors to consider the potential impact of small gifts. “What if 10% of the 159 million Christians in America gave a Token Gift? What if 10% of the worlds 2 billion Christians gave a token gift?” What if, indeed. At the risk of preachiness, perhaps all of us (Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, anyone) could take this idea one step further – maybe not quite as far as tithing, but certainly as far as microgrants, microlending and community fundraising. Your cause celebre may not be this celebrity, but little gifts can make a difference, and are worth considering. You can also follow RestoreSB on Twitter for updates like “Why do we send missionaries to every tribe on the planet and exclude the most influential tribe of Hollywood?” – the answer is once again provided in the FAQ: “His family does not perceive Stephen’s predicament as a matter of spiritual warfare. They see Stephen’s outspoken Christianity as poor choices therefore they will not help.” They are also on Facebook, or pretty much any other social network.View the video here:And read more about the campaign over at Gospel Soundcheck.