The youngest of Hollywood's well-known Baldwin brothers offers a highly entertaining and inspirational look at his life, from growing up in a famous family to becoming part of God's. THE UNUSUAL SUSPECT reveals Stephen Baldwin's almost unbelievable transformation from hardcore party boy to the hardcore man of faith he is today.
Baldwin reveals his unusual conversion to Christianity and how radically it has changed the way he lives his life. He takes us behind the scenes and tells the stories we've yet to hear-of celebrity fun, curious family, and hardcore faith. He also takes an in-depth look at the church's current role in society and the extreme faith movement.
Stephen's new desire is to share this message with the world: "You must be willing to try faith God's way, not yours." He encourages a "ramped up" approach to sharing the gospel and shares how his newfound faith has impacted every facet of his life. It's obvious Stephen has identified his new role in life, that of a Christian, as a role more radical than anything in Hollywood.
As the youngest son of six children, at the tail end of the (in)famous Baldwin brothers acting family, Stephen Baldwin has never done anything by halves. In this exhausting autobiographical report, Baldwin depicts himself as a wild, fun-loving extremist who mended his ways after making a personal commitment to Christ a few years back. Faced with his boldness bordering on fanaticism, readers will either love or hate Baldwin's take on the Christian life. At the outset, some may cringe at his recollections at being invited to the Playboy mansion, and his former caveman mentality toward women will likely cause some ire. Yet despite the audacious talk, Baldwin pointedly admits with some measure of humility his current struggles to "live out" a genuine God-honoring faith. He discusses how his new faith has affected his family, details the life events that brought him to Christ and offers randomly presented musings on marriage, prayer, purity, divine intervention and evangelism. If Baldwin's intent is to rev up the blood pressure of Christian readers while simultaneously challenging them to more courageous, faith-guided living, the venture succeeds. But be warned: this is not a gentle chronicle but an almost spastic spiritual memoir by someone on perpetual fast-forward. (Sept. 19)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 12, 2007
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Excerpt from The Unusual Suspect by Stephen Baldwin
CELEBRITY VS. REALITY
People constantly ask me for details of my "Damascus Road" experience (see Acts 9) that made me give my life to Jesus Christ. Most assume I hit bottom and had nowhere else to turn. They're wrong. Nothing in my life made me say, Oh God I can't live like this anymore. I can't do this, I'm going to kill myself. Help me! I've got to admit, my life was pretty awesome. When I woke up one morning and realized some studio had just paid me eighty times what my old man made a year to play Barney-freaking- Rubble, how could I not pinch myself and say, "Is this a great country or what!"
Don't get me wrong. There were things about who I was that I didn't like, and these things caused problems for me that I didn't want to face. I had a reputation as one of Hollywood's bad boys and living up to it led to behavior that was seriously questionable for a married man. But that didn't make me turn to Jesus. Overall, life was good. I just didn't realize it could be better.
Yeah, but you had it made, Stevie B. No argument here. I did have it made, at least according to the world system. You name it and I've been there, done that. Being a celebrity opened doors for me that were beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I've been on 250-foot yachts. I've hung out with billionaires and flown around on their private jets. I've been all over the world and experienced things 99.9 percent of people have never imagined in their wildest fantasies.
Of course a lot of guys assume I've done even more. They come up to me and ask, "Hey dude, by the way, in all those sex scenes in your movies, were you really doing it?" If they only knew what it takes to film those scenes they would understand how funny that question is. Movies are all about creating an illusion, and that is especially true of the sex scenes. But guys still want to know if I had sex with all the starlets I've worked with. The short answer is no, but I could have with a lot of them. The Hollywood life is a place that gives you license to do anything you want. Once you are in the club, celebrity gives you an allaccess, no limits pass in the physical world. I could go wherever I wanted and do pretty much anything I wanted, and the hilarious part is that most of the time I didn't even have to pay for it.
But even as I let myself be swept along on this ride, something deep down inside me kept telling me none of this really made any sense. For me, celebrity was never reality. I thought, okay, I'll take the money and I'll have a good time while I do this acting thing. I wanted to see how far it would take me, but even as I did, I knew I didn't want to become part of the fabric of the Hollywood "reality." Deep down I was never completely comfortable in that world. Of course, that didn't stop me from diving pretty deep.
GROTTO A GO-GO
How far did I go? Deep enough to know which steps on the spiral staircase down into the wine cellar at the Playboy mansion would trigger the silent alarm. When you know that, baby, you're in pretty deep. I didn't learn this little secret until my third trip to the mansion. The fact that I made it there once was a really big deal. There are producers and a bunch of other studio execs that can't get in, so when I was invited there for the first time it was one of those moments in my celebrity life that made me say, "Hey baby, I've arrived. I'm legitimate because I'm going to the Playboy mansion."
As the youngest son of a social studies teacher, the mansion was awesome, not so much because of the decadence of the place but because of the mystery of it. Growing up I looked at enough Playboy magazines that I should be blind, so to be invited to the Mecca of the whole empire was unbelievable. The fact that I was a married man didn't keep me from going.
I remember walking into the Playboy mansion the first time and looking around and thinking to myself, "Wow, this place is crawling with sexy chicks," but I could feel something else deep down inside. I felt the presence of evil. Of course, most anyone in Hollywood would have responded to my little observation by saying, "Yeah, so? What's the problem? Enjoy it, man."
Keep in mind I wasn't anywhere close to becoming a Christian at the time. Yet even then I could sense the true nature of the place. The paganism that hangs in the air and the sexual exploitation of women gives the place an energy and power that is just pure evil. I don't know how else to describe it. That sense of evil should have made me turn tail and leave, but I didn't. Nor did it keep me from going back.