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Your Views: Water crisis is why Hall must limit growth
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Thank you for providing a bit of a balanced opinion in your Sunday editorial "Let's make a lake." As was correctly stated, we have reached a point in our growth where we simply can't survive on the withdrawals from Lake Lanier limited by Judge Magnuson's ruling. Perhaps getting local governments to devise new strategies for resource management was his goal in making such a ruling. If so, it seems to be working.

You also make an excellent point in stating that "metro Atlanta communities now face difficult decisions on limiting growth, which should have come years ago." Limiting growth is indeed going to be one of the most important decisions for Hall County and the rest of North Georgia in coming years, and it's going to require smart planning that is not built off the premise of the past that we have an unlimited supply of resources at our disposal. But is Hall County lagging behind the rest of the region in planning smart growth?

Consider the figures from Hall County's 2020 growth plan, in which communities plan for future economic development in the coming decade. Hall County has a mere 0.62 percent (less that 1 percent) of its land set aside as conservation lands to remain undeveloped in the future. Compare this to conservation lands in the 2020 growth plans of neighboring counties Gwinnett (3.41 percent of county land) and Forsyth (a whopping 12.25 percent of county land), and Hall County looks pathetic.

True, these figures aren't set in stone, but if Magnuson's ruling tells us anything, it's that the days of growth without consequences are over. Building new lakes will work, but we can't pretend that we can stay in the cycle of "grow, build a new lake, and grow some more" forever.

The time is now for us to start planning with our brains instead of our wallets, and figuring out ways in which we can grow wisely and succeed economically at the same time. The rest of North Georgia seems to be getting on board. It's time for Hall County to mature a bit and join them.

Wally Smith
Flowery Branch

Give me old-time religion over contemporary churches
Regarding the Aug. 1 article "Signs of the times," this article, primarily about the difficulty Christian splinter groups are having in developing an identity, amazes me that well meaning and sincere Christian folk are so ignorant when it comes to naming their church.

Scripture contains many examples of how to name a church. The method by which Paul identified and communicated with first century churches was by location. His church epistles were always addressed to believers residing in specific geographical locations.

In the article, the question is asked. "As new churches opt for less formal names, are they leaving denominations behind, too?"
The Rev. David Edmondson, pastor at The Rock Church in Flowery Branch, answered, "There are a lot of ministries that are ‘dropping' the name of denominations from their signs and literature." He said "It is not that they have left the denomination or their beliefs have changed, but they are trying to drop the stigma or preconceived notions that the churches are stuck in the same ruts we were in 50 years ago." Is he really trying to say that a rose by any other name is still a rose?

Edmondson goes on. "Most churches I would say are just trying to proclaim the fact that we are not stuck in irrelevant, uncultured, old-fashioned ways of doing things." I am extremely proud of being a product of Emondson's so called irrelevant, uncultured and old-fashioned ways of doing things.

Based upon years of observation, it appears the original denominational churches in Hall County were definitely ordained by God. While these churches may now be passé, they did at one time proclaim the unadulterated truth of the gospel of God's grace. Unfortunately, as a result of man's ideas and opinions, these original bastions of the faith are nothing more than fond memories.

While the original denominational churches may not measure up to today's standards, they did have things in common. Going to any church meeting years ago, be it Baptist or Methodist, one knew pretty much how to act and what to expect.

Attending a contemporary church service today, denominational or otherwise, could result in the surprise of a lifetime. One might be enticed to worship God in a three-ring circus atmosphere. Some groups prefer to worship with so-called Christian rock and hip-hop dance.

Shamanic healing is fast becoming a popular mode of worship in some circles. Why not just get drunk on spirits and go naked? Have the days of "give me that old-time religion" been replaced by "give me all our money and don't let me catch you with any more?"

In the event God should choose a person like the apostle Paul to send an extra canon message to the church of Hall County, where would he send it? How would the U.S. Postal Service respond to an epistle addressed to the saints and faithful brethren of Hall County? No doubt this epistle would go into the Santa Claus bin.

Brethren, rest assured the body of Christ is not divided. However, the hallmark of contemporary Christianity is division. Is this division an indication that many soldiers of the Lord's army are marching to the beat of Lucifer's drums?

William P. Clark
Flowery Branch