Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

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Bishop’s Reflections2017-01-21T13:41:19-04:00

April 1st, 2019|


“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That’s the classic philosophical starter around the issues of observation and perception. If I tell you I’ll meet you at 9 a.m., but you (a) can’t hear me, (b) can hear me but aren’t paying attention, or (c) did hear me but are so distracted you forgot, did we communicate? Communication is a constant on the “needs improvement” list of any organization or relationship. That’s why my Gmail signature quote is, “The biggest problem I have with communication is overcoming the delusion that it has actually occurred.” (more…)

March 4th, 2019|

Lent: Deep Honesty, Deep Freedom

In the 8th chapter of John, Jesus promises us that “if you continue in my Word, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Of course, his audience argues with him. “Set free? Whatever do you mean? We’ve never been slaves to anyone or anything!” (my paraphrase) Apparently the same truth that sets us free also stings to begin with. What difference does a declaration of freedom make if we don’t even realize we are bound? (more…)

February 4th, 2019|

Grant us Gratitude

I’ve worked with more than one congregational treasurer in parishes I’ve served who insisted on publicizing in every bulletin and newsletter how far behind the budget we were. But whenever we edged ahead in income vs. budget or expenses, they would insist that we mustn’t let people know. They assumed people are motivated mainly by scarcity. I still think those treasurers were wrong. People give because they believe in the mission our giving supports. (more…)

January 7th, 2019|

How toddlers are renewing my faith

Those who follow me on social media will realize that I am obsessed. It’s our grandchildren—all four of them who have arrived in the past three years, and three of whom arrived in July of 2016 within a span of eight days. Honestly, I used to secretly believe that all the grandparenting hype—sharing pictures and telling stories ad nauseum—was way over the top. But now I, a past president of the Anti-Sentimentality Club, am in a whole new place. A bit of an uncomfortable yet wonderful place, to be honest. (more…)

December 3rd, 2018|

Advent Symbolism and Repentance

What with all the cultural—and admittedly, in our home—Christmas glitz, we forget that Advent is one of the two penitential liturgical seasons. As Lent’s somber journey to the cross prepares us for the joy of Easter, so Advent bids us “let every heart prepare him room.” That’s why “Joy to the World” was moved back in the ELW to the Advent hymn section. (more…)

November 5th, 2018|

Some of you are quite aware of our four new vision priorities for the NC Synod—Vital Congregations, Healthy Leaders, Collaboration, and Prophetic Voice. Visions can be exciting and inspiring. Structure, not so much, but structure is really important. It’s been quite a number of years since we had a major constitutional overhaul in the NC Synod other than the required changes every three years after a churchwide assembly. Structures should serve the vision—not vice-versa. Accordingly, our staff and our Synod Council have been working for a full year on making some proposed changes to our NC Synod constitution that we believe will help us to operate more clearly and efficiently. Most of the current constitution was written with realities and assumptions of a very different church and culture 30 years ago. (more…)

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