Signs of a crisis

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Watch the one-minute edit of Samantha Taylor's "God at Work," which was a semifinalist in the Film Your Issue international competition. [1:03]

Samantha Taylor said she believes in God.

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Augusta State University student Samantha Taylor, 25, filmed church signs around Augusta, comparing their messages to prevalent problems in the city.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Augusta State University student Samantha Taylor, 25, filmed church signs around Augusta, comparing their messages to prevalent problems in the city.

"I don't go to a church," she said. "I wake up every day - that's proof enough for me."

The Augusta State University film student didn't grow up in the church, but said she's been to enough to notice a problem.

"The signs. All these churches had these signs with these messages," Ms. Taylor, 25, said, "but things going on outside weren't consistent with what these signs say."

For an editing class a year ago, she created God at Work, a four-minute film of church signs and outdoor images throughout Augusta.

In May, she edited the film to 60 seconds and entered it in Film Your Issue, an international competition to engage ages 16-25 in dialogue about issues concerning them. The competition jury included Walter Cronkite, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and actors John Cusack and Mandy Moore.

Ms. Taylor made it to the semifinal round, listed in the top 36 from more than 150.

"I was shocked, I couldn't believe they picked mine," she said.

HeathCliff Rothman, the founder and president of the competition, said hers was an "easy choice" and from the moment he saw it he was sure it'd be a semifinalist, one of 24 American films selected.

"When you consider that we had entries from many states and from Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, South America, the Philippines, Israel and so on, the fact that it made the semifinals among very stiff competition I really think speaks very well to what it was in many respects," he said. "It stood out because as filmmaking it was very superior for originality in how she told the story, how she presented it, juxtaposing the exterior of churches and the signs and the messaging against the people in need. It was very unique. I loved it."

Ms. Taylor said alternative band Sneaker Pimps' song Blue Movie, with a chorus of "Get on that gospel train for my lord is coming too soon," kept the problem on her mind: poverty, crime, drug addiction and homelessness were abounding outside of the churches.

"It's kind of like, the church signs say that everything's wonderful, that God will make it all better, but they expect God to just do that without having to do any work themselves. And that's not all people, there's always exceptions to the rule, but that's just been my experience, what I've seen myself."

She was further bothered by church people who behave inconsistently.

"I know some people who go to church Sunday, it's all wonderful, then by Monday they're doing the same stupid stuff - lying and so on," she said. "It happens in all religions, you think because you go to church and you praise God in front of people that that's all you have to do."

Ms. Taylor said she "took a few creative liberties" in the film, staging a drug deal, a fight, all based on things she's seen.

"Everybody needs a reality check," Ms. Taylor said. "It (the film) might not fix the problem, but at least it will make somebody think about it."

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.

ONLINE EXTRA

To see God at Work, see chronicle.augusta.com/religion, or visit www.filmyourissue.com.

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captradiator
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captradiator 06/30/07 - 07:36 am
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Ms. Taylor, Thank you for

Ms. Taylor,

Thank you for this this thought -provoking work. Most folks believe that 'the government' should take care of those in need, but the New Testament teaches differently. Also, I urge you to get involved with a local church. Just as an automobile lasts much longer when it has the essential maintenance done to it (Gas, oil, coolant etc.), this needs to take place at a good garage; our spritiual needs are met when we are in fellowship and have our souls nurtured (Maintained) with other believers in a house (Garage) of worship.
Lastly,when we read the Word of God (Our owners's manual), we are better-prepared to meet the world and its problems head-on!

bill1
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bill1 06/30/07 - 09:46 am
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People always talk about “the

People always talk about “the church”. They say I don’t go because I find God everywhere and people that go are hypocrites. They don’t know that they are the church. The church is not the building, but the people. When will people stop worrying about other people and how they behave and worry about themselves? There are not enough people that go to the church building to help the poor, homeless, and all the other needy people.
The church buildings need more people to accomplish what is needed to be done. Maybe people don’t need the church, but the church needs them and maybe when people help others they will find God in the church building.

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 06/30/07 - 11:34 am
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I find Ms. Taylor's work to

I find Ms. Taylor's work to be inaccurate and unsupported by research. How can you sit in judgement of what a church family does or does not do if you do not go to a church yourself. I think in order to have been fair in her betrayal what is happening in Augusta tha she should have attended some of these church services and see for herself what goes on inside. Another question I think she should be asking herself is WHAT IS SHE DOING TO HELP other than making a film that is biased. It is irksome when people who have not stepped in a church door in years or ever sit back and pass judgement on people that they know nothing of. We have volunteers that go to Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, nursing homes, overseas to missions, not to mention how we as a church family work on helping each other out. Just because we go to church does not mean we do not struggle with the same sinful temptations as everyone else does. I think the paper should now go to several of the local churches and really find out what they are doing everyday to bring healing in the church and in the community. The bottom line is ONE church or even a 100 can't do all the work alone.

thinktwice
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thinktwice 06/30/07 - 11:35 am
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"When will people stop

"When will people stop worrying about other people and how they behave and worry about themselves?"

This is exactly the problem Ms Taylor is talking about. Most people, in this case protestant churches, talk about or display wonderfully thought out messages that do not reflect their actions or the actions of their congregations. God needs people to do his work. Faith alone may not be the solution. James 2

reveday3
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reveday3 06/30/07 - 08:33 pm
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Ms TAylor, I shall not

Ms TAylor, I shall not comment on your work because I have not seen it, however I will comment period. God's Holy Word , both living and written is ultimate reality, The Positive Message for all time, all generation( John 3:16 and Luke 4:16-31) Now, how people measure up according to their 'true faith' is a different concern, not to be judged but by God Himself. You have not lived long enough my dear-especially by your admission, in the Church. There are true believers, hearers and doers. Such do exist! Otherwise Christ would not be coming for Church without spot or wrinkle. Watch out! Satan, the liar and father thereof loves to battle with Christ and he is not particular who he uses, but in the end satan loses. Churches are supposed to be positive, at the same time "workers together with God" Christ died for true believers and the church is the extension of Christ' own incarnation. So, Lets not count the Church out, Ms Taylor. We who belong to the church with all of our flaws and shortcomings walk by the Spirit and not by sight...why don't you get into the Church? I am aware of those who talk the talk but do not walk the (Christian )Walk... remember there is only One JUDGE.

heffner
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heffner 06/30/07 - 11:13 pm
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Why was this story on the

Why was this story on the Your Faith page? Just having "God" in the title of her video and this story does not make it relevant to faith. Watching her video, it was obvious she had an agenda. Not going to church herself, she is not content to simply be ignorant of what goes on in there but has to make stuff up about what goes on outside. The Christian church in America is the most giving group of people in the world. But one who does not hang out with them would never know that. Judging the actions or motives of the people inside the church and "taking creative liberties" in her film to make things look as bad as possible is not a very kind thing to do. But bashing Christianity is a sure way to be a hit with Walter Cronkite, Wolf Blitzer, and John Cusack, and the Hollywood crowd.

galaxygrl
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galaxygrl 07/01/07 - 12:14 am
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"Taking liberties" is just

"Taking liberties" is just what the group she pandered to would want. Anything to take a potshot at Christians. We don't have holes in our hands, we just try; and try is the operative word here to live a little better everyday. It's hard when your not perfect to measure up to those that think we should be. God has used many like her to change the world. Paul comes to mind when he persecuted Christians. Grace and Mercy is what it is all about. Josh McDowell set out to prove Christianity wrong and found God on the way. I hope she does too!

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/01/07 - 09:29 am
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You are so right galaxygrl!!!

You are so right galaxygrl!!! Paul become on the othe greatest and most devoted followers of Christ. It is also interesting to see the work done in modern times with Josh McDowell. If nothing else maybe this creative film by an obviously lost young girl will inspire other young people to really see what is going on in the church. Our church is filled with young creative minds like her except they are usually too busy helping out the community and others to take the time to make films bashing other people's beliefs. e

katfish211
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katfish211 07/01/07 - 11:44 am
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Everyone is so quick to

Everyone is so quick to condemn her actions and her thoughts..Don't you think they are based on real views of life?? Why are so many peopl afraid to admit that there are REAL problems in and out of the Church?? I have experienced my own"bashing" from Christians, simply because i do not follow the same Religion..They do not give me a chance or want to know me...only critcize me.. I have seen so many people act one way when they go to Church,,,but when that service is over----so is the "devoted follower"...at least until the next service...This is a shame...people should be consistent in their actions and beliefs..Don't get me wrong---I DO NOT say that this is all people...but be real, this is how alot of people are..Time to open our eyes and take a good look at the REAL WORLD.....

Markus43
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Markus43 07/01/07 - 02:52 pm
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Dear Ms. Taylor, Your short

Dear Ms. Taylor,
Your short film was very insightful and honest. Although you've gotten some people upset, you have sparked interest and dialogue. Whether they agree with you or not, your film struck a chord. We all can do more to help our community. And going to church on Sunday is not a "get out of hell free card." Yes, there are many who work very hard to help our community, but there are also many others who really are not hearing the scripture that is read from the pulpit. As a filmmaker myself, I can attest to the impact video can make. Hope to see more of your work in the future!

samtaylor
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samtaylor 07/02/07 - 11:48 am
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I am glad so many people are

I am glad so many people are talking about my film. I must say that I don't understand why people who do work hard to make the world a better place are so upset. If you give to the poor, feed the hungry, and build shelter for the homeless then this film is obviously not about you. And yes, I did take stage the drug deal and fight, but that is because I don't condone those things and would never put real wrongdoing on film. All I did was show a small slice of reality, and if that makes some people uncomfortable then so be it.

SeeYa
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SeeYa 07/03/07 - 07:52 am
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Ms. Taylor, Thanks for your

Ms. Taylor,

Thanks for your response to the responders! Please keep up your good work. One thing is for sure, you got folks to thinking and, hopefully, praying. As far as people being uncomfortable, one of my favorite quotes is, "Jesus comforted the afflicted, and afflicted the comfortable." The Holy Spirit still does this...

ShakingMyHeadInShame
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ShakingMyHeadInShame 07/03/07 - 11:17 pm
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Great! Straight to the point!

Great! Straight to the point! Is it possible to view the full four minutes? This film should be viewed by all the self-righteous and pious churchgoers!

RET66482
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RET66482 07/04/07 - 04:34 am
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I must say that I am very

I must say that I am very proud of Ms Taylor's film (I'm her father). When I looked at it (never knew that she would submit it in a contest), I was awaken by the contents and showed it to some of the people that I attend church with (I do frequent church) and they were shocked as well. I can say that some of us (I use the term we and us because I am one of the people) need to take off our blinders and see the things that are going on around us. Try look at things from a two year old point of view (at that age they have not learned to lie). We all set goals that we want to acheive in life. What happens when we reach those goals. My proposal to all is not to set goals but to live with a purpose (a purpose has no end and is on going). Listen (not just hear) to what other have to say and understand that we can agree to disagree. This is what makes us as a people so unique. I thank you for opening our eyes and now it is up to us as a people to open our eyes and hearts and eliminate the problems. Instead of talking about those at fault, let talk about solutions. Keep up the work Ms Taylor.

captradiator
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captradiator 07/05/07 - 06:09 am
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Dad, Amen, brother!

Dad,

Amen, brother!

vyccorp
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vyccorp 07/07/07 - 12:42 pm
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Ms. Taylor, I believe that

Ms. Taylor, I believe that you struck a very deep cord with your film. I truly admire your courage for daring to speak up about a subject that is in the back of everyone's mind (even though some of us wouldn't admit it). I'm glad to see you exercise your freedom of speech in such a incredible and thought provoking way. Those that are upset by your film often misunderstand the message you're trying to point out. Our jobs as christians isn't to feel hurt about the truth, become angry and lash out but to use the energy brought forth with the reality of truth to make those messages what they are supposed to be. Right now they appear and most of the time are empty messages that bring no meaing to those who see it because most of us don't back them up by example. There are those that work very hard to make God's love a tangible touch but the reality is most of us don't. It has always been 20% of the people doing 80% of God's work. Going to church isn't enough we need to be living examples of truth and living sacrifices for God each and every day. I admire your work and I say keep up the good work. I would love to see the 4 min version. I hope you win, you did a superb job!!!

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