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Stephen Baldwin: Born Again

Actor Stephen Baldwin enjoyed life in the fast lane during his early years in Hollywood.

"I'll admit that in the beginning I partied too much, drank too much, and snorted enough cocaine to throw the entire population of a small South American country into anaphylactic shock," he writes in his new book, "The Usual Suspect."

His film appearances in dozens of movies, including "Flintstones," "Bio-Dome," and "The Usual Suspects," earned Baldwin enough celebrity to land him at the best parties and an invitation to the Playboy mansion.

Baldwin's celebrity also stemmed from being one of four brothers from a family of professional actors, the best known being his oldest brother Alec.

It would be easy to make the assumption that a biographical book from Stephen Baldwin would be a juicy tell-all about life in Hollywood as told by an actor who has lived life on the wild side and comes from a famous family of actors.

"The purpose of the book 'The Unusual Suspect' for me is just the 'Gospel according to Stevie B.,' so to speak," he said in an interview with Judy Faber of "It's just me talking about … my life experience, telling crazy stories. … So I'm not trying to hit anybody over the head about Jesus, I'm just talking about what's happened to me and what it means to me."

Life experiences? Check. Crazy stories? Check.

But Jesus?

Baldwin's wife, Kennya, daughter of Brazilian music legend Eumir Deodato, became curious about Christianity after conversations she had with a housekeeper who worked for the family while Baldwin was shooting the TV show "The Young Riders" in Tucson, Ariz.

The woman, who was also Brazilian, told Kennya that she had traveled to the United States to work for her because she had a vision that the Baldwins would become born again and start their own ministry.

After Baldwin and his wife moved back to New York, Kennya started attending a charismatic church, praying and reading the Bible twice a day. He noticed a change in her that he found inspiring.

"She became more gentle, she became less judgmental, she just changed," he said.

He became more curious about her experience, and after the events of Sept. 11 he seriously began to question his spiritual outlook. A month later, Baldwin became baptized and hasn't looked back since.

2"The Unusual Suspect" chronicles Baldwin's journey from Long Island jock to Hollywood party boy to "hardcore man of faith" in the first 50 or so pages.

The remainder of the book is, as he says, "Stevie B. preaching the gospel" which means he attempts to talk about the Lord with a sort of MTV, edgy sensibility.

Baldwin hopes to build that "hardcore" vibe into a ministry that appeals to a younger audience. He's already produced a set of DVDs and a tour called "Livin' It" that features skateboarders and BMX riders showing off their skills and sharing their faith.

In January, Baldwin plans to fulfill the Brazilian nanny's prophecy and start his own ministry called The Breakthrough Ministry. He said the ministry's first project will be an extreme sports arena tour called the "Uprising Core Tour"

"It's gonna be some of the top professional skateboarders, BMX riders and motocross guys, and some of the really super hardcore Christian bands," he said. "I just want to hit the streets and talk about what we're doing here and have it be something that kids can go: '…I went to their event last night (and) it was awesome, slammin', it was fun, and it was about this thing that they were talking about that's about faith and it was cool.'"

According to Baldwin, all three of his brothers have been very supportive of what he calls his "conversion," but they have not embraced his beliefs.

He's not the only member of their extended family that his found religion. His brother Billy's wife, Wilson Phillips singer Chynna Phillips, has become born again.

Baldwin said that "it's been confirmed" in his heart and his mind that what he's experiencing is the truth.

"According to God's word," he said, "everybody at some point is going to be given the opportunity to know the truth."

But, what happens to people who don't accept that truth?

"Well, they won't be experiencing eternal life," said Baldwin, who pointed out that his belief is "not according to Stephen Baldwin, it's according to the word of God."

"I'm just the messenger here," he added. "I'm just another representative of my faith, so to speak."

By Judy Faber

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