Archaeological Find at CAL

Through October, my painting “Archaeological Find” will be on display at the Charlotte Art League (CAL), located at 1517 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203. Tonight, October 6, there will be a reception from 6 to 9 pm, along with a gallery crawl of all the galleries in the area. This area of Charlotte, called Center City, is very interesting architecturally as well as culturally. It is the heart of old industrial Charlotte, totally rennovated, and now home to upscale restaurants, micro breweries, condos and galleries. The CAL reception and gallery crawl on the first Friday of each month is a very fun, festive event. I hope you’ll come.

For easiest access to CAL, take the light rail to the Bland Street Station. The parking deck by Prices Chicken Coup is free. On street parking is available on Tryon, Camden, Park, Summit and nearby streets. Meters are monitored from 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, except for weekends and most holidays. Meters on South Blvd. are enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week (parking signs and stickers attached to parking meters warn motorists of the 24-hour enforcement). Park It! agents enforce parking rules in the Center City area on weekends and during special events. CAL ph 704-376-2787 www.charlotteartleague.org

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

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One of the Best Columns on the Internet

I consider Gary Bauer’s email column, “End of the Day Report,” to be one of the best columns on the Internet. It’s informative and insightful, and I always find value in it. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Check out his “End of the Day Report” for Friday, September 29 – here.

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

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Teddy Roosevelt vs Donald Trump

Teddy Roosevelt

Just a cursory reading of the life of Teddy Roosevelt reveals striking similarities and differences between the two Republican presidents. Both men were products of their times. Both were considered unpredictable and “loose canons” by their party. Both were reformers that wanted to use the office of president to bring positive change to America. Both believed they answered to the American people more than to Congress or the Constitution. Both enjoyed the spotlight and had a love-hate relationship with the Press. And both were judged by their contemporaries as crackpots.

Where they differ most is in their personal lives. Teddy was a man of action, a man’s man, a man who believed in “the strenuous life,” a soldier, a rancher; but also a man of letters, a deep thinker and a man of high character. Trump is a city boy, a businessman, a TV celebrity, a real-estate mogul. His idea of writing is to dash off a tweet. And as for character… very different. But both men were catalysts for change.

Both Roosevelt and Trump shook Washington to its core. (And Washington needs to be shaken to its core at least once every hundred years.) For the past 30 years, since Reagan, Washington has festered in lies and grown increasingly corrupt. Professional politicians on both sides of the aisle have not challenged the corruption because they are part of it. The Press has been in bed with the very people they are supposed to be keeping an eye on. And the absence of any discussion of integrity in the last election indicates just how far off-course we’ve gone.

The word “hypocrites” comes to mind when I think of Washington politicians – the same word Jesus used to describe the leaders of His day. He called them “whited sepulchers” – whitewashed tombs, “full of dead men’s bones.” In other words, they looked good on the outside but were corrupt on the inside. They lacked integrity. By the way, Jesus was considered to be a “loose cannon” in His day. Those in power don’t trust people they cannot control. They couldn’t control Jesus, they couldn’t control Teddy and they cannot control Trump.

So, whether you like Trump or not, he’s a catalyst for change in a town that desperately needs change, and that’s a good thing. One reason so many people in Washington are against him is because he is exposing the corruption and dysfunctionality that they take for granted. Washington has needed a political enema for a long time. Now they’re getting it.

Waitsel Smith

 

 

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Press Release

Friday night, August 4, 2017, Waitsel Smith of Lenoir was awarded Second Place in Painting at the 37th Annual Fine Arts Festival in Southern Pines, NC for his oil painting “Autumn Lake” (above). Two years ago, he won Second Place in Painting for “Dress Blues” (below). The art exhibit, which is presented by the Arts Council of Moore County and located in the historic Campbell House Galleries, runs August 4 through 25. Sharon and Joseph DiGiulio, of DiGiulio Studios, Raleigh, NC, judged the show. After graduating from East Carolina University in Painting, Waitsel has worked as an artist and illustrator for over 35 years. He has two works in the show.

Dress Blues

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See more:  waitsel.com

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

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What’s so good about Good Friday?

Waitsel Smith

 

 

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I Am the Thief on the Cross

“When I survey the wondrous cross…” what stands out for me, after Christ’s unprecedented sacrifice and love, is the penitent thief. Of all the personalities surrounding the cross, HE is the one with whom I identify. He seems to be the individual that is most pathetically lost, while at the same time, most truly repentant.

That’s me. I’m a mess – a BIG mess. And only Christ – ONLY Christ – could see any redemptive value in me. The fact that Christ, in the midst of His own suffering, could relate so well to another human being, shows the extent of His love.

And then, contrast the penitent thief with the one who wasn’t penitent. Both men are doomed to die in the most excruciating way possible. But only one of them has eyes to see, and what he sees is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. An exchange takes place that alters everything for him: Christ’s invitation and his acceptance.

A hand held out and a hand taken. A kind word spoken and a kind word received. How simple, we might think. But if it were that simple, everyone in the world would be a Christian. As dramatic as that moment on the cross was, there was far more going on.

In the background, in the Heavens, a war was raging. You can read about it in Revelation 12. Michael and two-thirds of the angels fought against the dragon and one-third of the angels. The world saw the war merely as a Hebrew man being crucified by Roman soldiers. But in the Heavens, in the spiritual realm, a cataclysmic event was taking place.

One of my favorite verses in that chapter from Revelation is “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.” Christ’s blood, mingled with God’s Word on the lips of His saints, mixed with disdain for a life lived selfishly – that is what saved us, what is saving us and what will save us and others.

The selfless sacrifice of Christ was meant to be an example for us to follow; not a one time event on a cross, but something that takes place every day with every person we meet. Only God can reach out to others through us to offer a hand of friendship and a kind word. But because it IS God reaching out through us, for one purpose and one purpose only – to save – our lives can have purpose and meaning beyond our wildest dreams.

So, the thief on the cross – cast off by society as worthless – becomes a linchpin in God’s campaign to save the world. Only God could have come up with such a plan. Only God could bring about such a redemption. And only Christ could have made it possible.

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

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Facts Don’t Matter

A recent editorial pointed out how we ignore facts and don’t allow them to change our minds. We SHOULD ignore facts. If we didn’t, no one would ever get married or start a business; no one would ever experience a miracle; and certainly no one would ever put their life on the line for someone else. Facts just give us reasons not to act. They make cowards of us all.

Truth, on the other hand, gives us courage and motivation. Can you imagine the Israelites standing at the edge of the Red Sea following the Exodus? The Egyptian chariots are bearing down on them and Moses is ready to lead them through the waters, when someone turns to Moses and says, “Do you mind if I fact-check this first? I have some statistics here… And a recent poll indicates…”

We can look at life the way Sgt. Joe Friday did on the old TV show, Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Or, we can look at it the way Jesus did, with spiritual eyes focused on Truth. The Media has been feeding us facts for years, and where have they gotten us? Can facts bring down a dictator? Can they bring a dead child back to life? Can they save a marriage or change an addict’s life? And can facts ever, ever save a person’s soul? Truth can do all that, and more.

My sisters and I were raised by the same set of parents in the same place at roughly the same time. Yet, when we start telling stories about our childhood, you would think we were from different planets. I will tell a story; then my older sister will say, “Now I’ll tell you something that really DID happen.” What, and mine didn’t?! Then my younger sister starts, and the whole time she’s talking, I’m thinking, “When did THAT happen? Who IS this person?!”

If three people that grew up together have such different versions of “the facts” concerning their childhood, isn’t it possible – just POSSIBLE – that all these facts we’re being fed by the Media are bogus, or at least unimportant? How do they have so many “facts” on President Trump, when people who have known each other their entire lives cannot get their facts straight?

I’ll tell you, if I have a choice between believing “just the facts” and believing the Truth, I’ll take the Truth. The facts are all going to be burned up one day anyway.

If you’d like to read more about this topic, go to my articles

Truth vs Facts

The Truth about History

Waking Up to Truth

Facts are Relative

Truth vs Opinions

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The Answer to My Question

A letter-to-the-editor appeared in the Caldwell News-Topic this week in answer to my question, “Why do African-Americans keep voting for Democrats, given the history of the Democratic party?” The writer said the “common sense” answer to my question was the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, along with the accompanying legislation of that period. While this answer may seem obvious, I don’t think it adequately addresses the complexity of the issue.

For example, if how much a political party had done for blacks were the answer, then Republicans would win hands down. Republicans fought a Civil War to free African-Americans from slavery, sacrificing hundreds of thousands of lives in the process. They also passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments against strong Democratic opposition. This trumps ANYTHING Democrats have done, or ever could do. So, if common sense or even gratitude played a part in their decision, most African-Americans would be voting Republican.

One responder to my question suggested that Democrats give more money to African-Americans through various welfare programs. That is, I believe, part of the answer, but not the whole story.

In 1965, a liberal Democrat named Patrick Moynihan released a report entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” – also known as the Moynihan Report. At the time, Moynihan was Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Lyndon Johnson. Using statistical data from experts at the Labor Department, he reported that the fundamental source of weakness in African-American communities was the breakdown of the family unit, and that this breakdown had lead to a startling increase in welfare dependency.

For example, young black couples were increasingly having children before they were married, which strained their relationship, both financially and emotionally. Across the board, sociologists and psychologists agreed that marriage should precede childbearing. Yet, nothing could convince these couples to wait; and so they quickly became part of the welfare system. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) actually punished single-parents that found work or married someone with a job.

Moynihan was looking at data from 1940 to 1965, which at that time was disturbing. But if you look at the same data from 1965 to 2015, it is not only disturbing, it’s downright heartbreaking. The African-American community is spiraling downward at a rate that seems almost unstoppable. But it is not just African-Americans. White and Hispanic communities are following the same trends, just not as quickly. Whether you’re talking about drug addiction, crime, domestic violence, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, broken homes, boys without fathers, etc, etc – it all leads to poverty, and poverty feeds the problem.

Keeping people dependent on welfare is not the answer. Teaching them about the benefits of marriage is at least a start. President Trump wants to clean up the inner cities; but that would only treat some of the symptoms, not take care of the cause. The cause is the breakdown of the family unit. We need to do everything we can to help young people understand that strong marriages make strong families, which in turn make strong communities as well as strong individuals.

If you’d like to read more about Patrick Moynihan and the Moynihan Report, go to

The Collapse of Marriage and the Rise of Welfare Dependence  and

Moynihan and the Single-Parent Family: The 1965 Report and its Backlash : Education Next

Thanks to Larry Smith in Atlanta for providing what I believe is the right answer. If you read what Moynihan says about the issue, even much later in life, you will see that he wasn’t satisfied that there was a right answer, and certainly not an easy one.

I had other good responses, one or more of which I may deal with later. For now, the discussion is still open.

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

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Womanhood

womanhoodMy mom, Rose Ann Smith (right), with my aunt, Bette McGimsey

I don’t buy into this vision of womanhood being presented by feminists, such as those who recently marched for women’s rights. Womanhood isn’t about self-reliance and non-dependence upon men. It isn’t about excluding the word “obey” from her marriage vows. And it certainly isn’t about declaring that her body is her own, and therefore she has a right to abortion-on-demand and free contraceptives. “I am woman hear me roar” is a misguided concept.

The greatest example I know of a strong woman is my mother, Rose Ann Smith. Her entire life was spent serving others, including me. We didn’t appreciate my mom and all her sacrifices growing up. But one of the greatest blessings of my life was having the privilege of taking care of her in her declining years. During that time, I saw a grace and beauty in her that I hadn’t seen before. Physically, my mom was a beautiful woman; but facing death with great courage brought out another type of beauty, a spiritual beauty.

Taking care of her also taught me something about serving others, that it is a joyful experience. The Bible says that even Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient. (Philippians 2:8) God commands wives to be obedient to their husbands, not to demean them but to bring them joy. Marriage is supposed to reflect Christ’s relationship to the Church. (Ephesian 5:25) What if the Church decided not to obey Christ? There would be no joy in the Church. Who wants to live a life without joy?

Another great example of womanhood is Mother Teresa. She gave up her wealth and position to serve the children of India. To serve children! She once said that Roe vs Wade had “deformed a great nation.” She called abortion “the greatest destroyer of peace today” because “it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself.” Mother Teresa never turned away a single child that came to her for any reason.

Those are the types of women we need more of. Not the marching, angry types that we see on the news so often today. But the tender, kind, gracious, generous and, yes, humble types that were my mother Rose Ann and Mother Teresa.

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

For more of my thoughts on Mother Teresa, go to End of America?

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I’d Love an Answer

Given the horrific history of the Democratic party towards African-Americans, why do black voters still choose Democrats over Republicans? Here are some facts, which can be checked on numerous web sites, including liberal ones. I got many of mine from the History Channel web site.

Democrats were the main supporters of slavery in the Old South. The Republican party, which wasn’t formed until 1854, had the goal of ending slavery. When Lincoln was nominated as the first Republican president, South Carolina vowed that if he were elected they would secede from the Union. Well, he was and they did.

The Civil War (1861) was basically Northern Republicans against Southern Democrats. When the South lost in 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a Democrat, assassinated Lincoln. When Republicans tried to pass the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in 1870, abolishing slavery and giving blacks the rights to citizenship and voting, Democrats vehemently opposed them.

After the war, during Reconstruction, Democrats were denied the right to hold office in the South; so they formed the KKK in order to fight against Republican leaders and black voters. Once they were allowed to run for office again, Democrats bullied and bribed African-American voters until they had bullied and bribed their way back into office.

It wasn’t long until Democrats had reclaimed the South, and continued to maintain their stranglehold all the way up to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr. – who was joined by many prominent Republicans, including Charlton Heston, president of the NRA – marched on Democrat stronghold Alabama with its radical Democrat governor, George Wallace.

So, what have Democrat Presidents, including Obama, done for the African-American community since the Civil Rights Movement? What have ANY Democrat officeholders done? Black neighborhoods still struggle with poverty and crime, even more than they did back in the 1960s. So, why do African-Americans keep voting for Democrats?

Waitsel Smith

 

 

Waitsel Smith

PS – A friend in Atlanta sent me these two links that he believes answer the question. See what you think.

The Collapse of Marriage and the Rise of Welfare Dependence

Moynihan and the Single-Parent Family: The 1965 Report and its Backlash : Education Next


 

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The Necessity of Civil Disobedience

Charlton HestonThe following is a speech NRA President Charlton Heston gave to the Harvard Law School Forum on February 16, 1999. With the inauguration of a new president quickly approaching, his words have never been more relevant.

I remember my son, when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. “My Daddy,” he said, “pretends to be people.” There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling repainted, I’ll do my best. There always seems to be a lot of different fellows up here. I’m never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I’m the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight, it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty… your own freedom of thought… your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at a Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, “We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.”

Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that’s about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you… the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. [click to continue…]

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The Meaning of Christmas

Meaning of ChristmasI think you have to have been born in the South to understand this, but there is a real connection between Christmas and snow. It’s almost as if snow validates the holiday. Maybe we’re just more romantic than people in other parts of the country, and we’ve really bought into the idea of a “white Christmas;” but every year, the entire South prays that it will snow on Christmas Eve. It’s not that we have horse-drawn sleighs anymore, as many Yankees would like to think; but we do like to remember them. Snow reminds us of how Christmas once was, a time of graciousness and charity. We wish we could get back to that, but we never do. And so the promise and joy of Christmas are always followed by a feeling of dissatisfaction and melancholy. Snow softens that.

The other reason snow is so important to Christmas is because Christmas is a medieval, European holiday in origin, and therefore needs medieval, European symbols to support it. The birth of Jesus took place in an arid, Eastern country. It’s very difficult for Westerners to wrap their heads around the birth of a Savior in such a foreign place. So we wrap the story in things we understand, like snow and Christmas trees and candy canes. Snow is like a white security blanket that we hold next to our heads as we suck our thumbs and gaze at the Nativity. Snow represents the purity of Christ that He has so graciously clothed us with. When we twist that image together with one of His righteousness – something else He’s clothed us in – we have the red and white of the candy cane, a beautiful medieval image that, like snow, helps to comfort and encourage us at Christmastime.

The great reformer Martin Luther introduced the Christmas tree into our tradition. But other than it, most of our holiday symbols are medieval and all point back to Christ and what He was born to bring:

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18

Christ’s sinless blood washed away our sins, which were as red as scarlet, and made them as clean and pure as His own. That is the gift of a tiny baby sent from Heaven and born into an evil world. The Wise Men’s gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh pale in comparison.

Merry Christmas!

Waitsel Smith

 

 

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