Stephen Baldwin, the actor and self professed “spritual activist” is coming out with a new book called “The Unusual Suspect” in which he criticizes the efforts of Bono who has put forth a massive effort in order to provide aid and debt relief to African nations. Baldwin writes;
“You would do far more good if you preached the gospel of Jesus, rather than trying to get Third World debt relief. God will take care of that Third World country. Get back to your calling, Bono.”
I have to say that this quote is incredibly troubling on so many levels. First is the fact that Stephen Baldwin is criticizing Bono, a person of faith who has made such an incredibly positive impact on this world through hard work and compassion for those who are marginalized and forgetten by so many. I could possibly see how someone like Ghandi or Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela could be in a position to give Bono some criticizism on his efforts, but not a guy who co-starred in Bio-Dome. Second is the fact that Baldwin is suggesting that, as a follower of Jesus, helping those who are the “least of these” somehow falls outside of the communication of the Gospel. I simply don’t understand how that has been missed in Baldwin’s study of Jesus’ teachings. Third is the idea that God will simply take care of these struggling nations outside the effort of his body of believers. In the teachings of Jesus, he clearly puts the burden on us, his followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked and to give shelter to those without it. In those acts of service and humility, we can most clearly display the Gospel to those who are in need.
What’s also interesting about Baldwin is that he is trying to raise financial support for his new project: The Breakthrough. The Breakthrough will be an evangelistic arena tour that features extreme sports and light shows aimed at reaching the nation’s youth. According to the website, each stop on the tour is expected to cost around $350,000 to $500,000 to produce. Baldwin suggests that the youth of today is not being reached effectively and I’d say he’s right. We simply aren’t spending enough money entertaining them.
So as Baldwin criticizes Bono for actually serving the poor, or the “least of these”, Baldwin will be getting totally radical to the tune of a half a million dollars per day in an arena near you. May you choose wisely which these two totally different messages you will support.