Actor Stephen Baldwin has appeared in over 60 films, has been featured on numerous television programs, and now runs his own production company, developing projects for both film and television. After the 9/11 attacks, he became a born-again Christian and, along with the Luis Palau Association, produces "Livin' It" videos, which combine extreme sports with evangelism. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and daughters.
You star in the new short film Midnight Clear, based on a story by Christian author Jerry Jenkins, who co-wrote the "Left Behind" series. What would you say is the message of the film?
For me, the most obvious message is, 'keep the faith.' I don't mean faith in faith, I mean faith in life. That translates to `don't give up.'Life is such a precious gift. Whatever life throws at us, if we could just learn to get through that day and hang on to the next, you never know what may come. It may get worse, but you never know.
Suicide, depression, and estrangement between family members are some of the themes of the movie. Do any of those themes resonate with something in your own life?That's a sensitive question. I wouldn't say estrangement from a parent. There's been moments of depression in my life, moments when I was in situations that I thought I wouldn't be able to get out of. I've never personally, seriously, contemplated ending my life, but there have been situations in my life that I've said, is all of this worth it? There's a difference between thinking that thought and wondering how to do it. This movie depicts how you do it. Have the depression issues improved since you became an evangelical?Well, yeah. I've been on a pretty pink cloud for four years now, but that's because I've chosen to really step out in a pretty hardcore way. God has honored that because I challenged him to do so. Your "Livin' It" program "combines outrageous skateboarding and BMX stunts with the powerful message of God's radical love." What response have you been getting?
I spoke at an "Acquire the Fire" conference in front of 3000 youth pastors last year. I had a couple guys come up to me [with] tears in their eyes, saying "we've been asking our senior pastors for years to have a skate night and now because of what you're doing, we think that they may go for it." A lot of churches right now, even Rick Warren at Saddleback is getting ready to do a major skate park on his property. I don't think you'll be seeing half-pipes in too many sanctuaries anytime soon, but hey, praise the Lord!
"I have no interest in changing Hollywood."
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You work with evangelist Luis Palau to organize skateboarding events at his festivals. If a person walked into a Palau festival and went to the skateboarding area, what would they see?
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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.