Any person who cares to take an honest look knows that miracles ain’t what they used to be. If you buy the Bible’s version of history, just a few thousand years ago the Middle East was a hotbed of miraculous happenings. Rivers turned to blood; manna, stone tablets bearing commandments, all kinds of shit just fell right outta the sky; seas were routinely parted, calmed, or walked upon; and staffs turned into snakes like that! Plus there were all the personal visitations from the creator of the universe. Imagine how fastidious the Moses or Abraham households must have been, never knowing when God might drop in for a cup of coffee and a cruller.
Nowadays, people are so desperate for even the faintest sign of divine intervention that they see God’s hand in the griddle marks of their grilled cheese sandwiches, the shape of their potato chips, the blob of bird shit on their windshield — things no self-respecting deity (or even the jealous, desperately insecure God of the Bible) would have anything to do with. But I saw something tonight that might be the saddest attempt to make a miracle out of a mole hill I’ve ever seen.
It’s called The Restoration of Stephen Baldwin.
You know who Stephen Baldwin is, I’m sure. Until a few years ago he was “the dumb one” of his once mighty acting clan; now he’s “the religious one.” In 2002 Stephen announced he was now a Born Again Christian[tm], and began passing on acting gigs that contained gratuitous sex and violence. As a result, at least going by how this website tells it, he is now several million dollars in debt.
Here’s where the miracle part comes in. The creators of this website, who state repeatedly that they don’t know and are not affiliated with Stephen Baldwin (though they do have the approval and endorsement of Daniel Southern, his spiritual advisor and president of his ministry [. . . Stephen Baldwin has a ministry? Christ, they must just hand those out now]), want you and everyone else you know to give your money to Stephen Baldwin, so he can pay his bills and be filthy rich again, thereby — wait for it — proving to the rest of the world that God has not abandoned his faithful servant, the other guy from Bio-Dome.
Stephen Baldwin is repeatedly compared to Job on the website, which I can imagine being offended by if I were a Christian. Afterall, Job was a good man who lost everything, including his family, all because God got a burr up his ass to prove a point to Satan. Job’s children were killed — by God, on purpose, for no reason. How does the alleged suffering of Stephen Baldwin rate next to that? Granted, there never was any such person as Job, and the God who torments him in the Bible is no more real than the Tooth Fairy, but I’m not the one making the comparison. Stephen Baldwin’s career, which was never due to anything other than his last name in the first place, takes a nosedive after he starts laying a Jesus trip on everyone, and somehow that’s the same as having God wipe out your family and livelihood just to win a bet?
This is why I sometimes question whether anyone actually believes any of this shit.
How would millions of people going into their own pockets to pay off Stephen Baldwin’s creditors be proof of God’s love, anyway? God’s not paying the bills — people are. Does God get credit because he moved in their hearts, or some such horseshit, inspiring them to give to the noble cause of Baldwin relief? If he can move people to do that, why not move the people Baldwin owes the money to just forgive the debt? That way nobody has to pay anybody anything. Or better yet, how about an actual miracle? God could just magically erase all Stephen’s debts, fill his bank accounts back up, get him a couple nice cars and houses, a sexy church wife, whatever floats his boat. Then all the credit would be his outright.
Something tells me God ain’t gonna do that. At least Stephen Baldwin can take heart that God’s indifference to his plight has nothing to do with any lack of faith on his part.
As for this notion of people stepping forward and donating money to . . . [sigh] restore Stephen Baldwin, I really must put my foot down. I’m not generally a very judgmental fellow, but this is a pretty straightforward, black and white case. If you have enough money left over after at the end of the month to kick a little bit to charity, and you give one penny of it to Stephen Baldwin, you’re an asshole and you should only get your brains knocked out of your skull by a Louisville Slugger.
Giving money to Stephen fucking Baldwin . . . Have we solved the homeless problem, then? The children of the world, they’ve all been fed and clothed and educated? The libraries and museums, the artists, the local restaurants and small businesses in every country all over the world, they’ve got all the money they need? Well, in that case —
No! No, no, no, no! Take somebody out for ice cream. Buy your cat a new collar. Get your oil changed. Leave your waiter a nice fat tip. Don’t give it to Stephen Baldwin. Just . . .