Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

Theodicy

October, 2022

Isaiah 43:1-2 has long been one of my go-to verses. I do find it a personally comforting reassurance, but it provides a hopeful context in response to the giant “Why” questions when we suffer. Surely,…

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Burnout

September, 2022

There’s a word that has resurfaced with a vengeance during COVIDtide and even more so in our gradual realization that we haven’t—and won’t soon, if ever—really emerged from it. The word describes a paralyzing and…

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Holy Spirit, Guide Us

August, 2022

Here’s a riddle for you. What used to happen every other year and lasted for a whole week or more but now happens every third year and lasts not even four full days? (Some of…

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God Bless America

July, 2022

“There are three kinds of patriots: Two bad and one good,” theorized the Rev. William Sloane Coffin while preaching at Riverside Church in New York. “The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless…

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Like a Family Reunion!

June, 2022

It was like seeing family for the first time in three years. Synod Gathering, I mean. Worship was glorious, and the required masks couldn’t stifle the songs in our hearts that finally, together, rose from…

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Jesus is Risen! The Church Follows

May, 2022

In 2019, we voted at our Synod Assembly to move to an every-other-year business synod assembly. We determined that since one of our guiding principles is cultivating whole and healthy leaders (lay and clergy), we…

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No, He Wouldn’t!

April, 2022

We were having a discussion—okay, an argument—in the Christian Education Committee of my first parish. I was wanting to commune children, and the chair of the committee was adamantly opposed. The topic was unofficially tabled…

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Hobbits and Ashes

March, 2022

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide….

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Myth Busters II

February, 2022

Six years ago, merely six months into this call to be bishop, I wrote an e-news article titled “Myth Busters.” In it, I chronicled NC Synod misinformation—much of it somewhat pervasive—around issues such as conflict,…

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Epiphany—Pay Attention!

January, 2022

More than 2,000 years ago, a surprising and intriguing new star appeared in our galaxy. Hardly anyone noticed, but some did. This coming Thursday, January 6, 2022, is the Feast of the Epiphany. That which…

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The Re-Gathering Roller Coaster Ride

December, 2021

Just this past week I received seven separate inquiries about the NC Synod Re-Gathering guidelines. They all had a common theme, which I’ll summarize and paraphrase like this: “Hey, we’ve been waiting and watching for…

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Stewardship Season

November, 2021

It’s not recognized as liturgical, but it’s here in most of our congregations nevertheless: Stewardship Season. It usually coincides with another important but less visible season: Budget Time.  For many, neither is among the more…

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Advancing a New Plan

October, 2021

At the beginning of 2021, facing a pandemic and a bishop election, our synod staff shared with Synod Council that there would be a “bishop transition” no matter who was elected. The four-year strategic plan…

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Getting Along

September, 2021

Some of the most amusing moments of my ministry have occurred while interviewing others to work in the various congregations I have served.  “So what interests you in this Administrative Assistant position at our church?”…

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Vaccinations – A Reflection by Bishop Tim

August, 2021

Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 (NRSV) I learned a tough lesson right after college when I traveled to spend the…

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Free in America, Free in Christ!

July, 2021

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” —Galatians 5:1 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…

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God’s Bizarre Draft Strategy

June, 2021

Bishop Assistant Pastor Phil Tonnesen told us in his devotion for our pre-Assembly online meeting that the bishop at his ordination reminded the ordinands that “the Holy Spirit will take you somewhere you do not…

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Love Your Neighbor: Vaccinate!

May, 2021

What do diphtheria, smallpox, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever have in common? They have all been eradicated or brought under control by global vaccination programs. The jury…

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May the Odds Be Forever in Your Favor!

April, 2021

Odds of getting a hole in one? 5,000: 1. Odds of being struck by lightning? 567,000: 1. Odds of winning the nearly billion-dollar MegaMillions jackpot this past January? 302, 575,000: 1. I’m curious. How many…

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Sometimes It Is about Me

March, 2021

“See, that’s your problem. You’ve turned this around and made it about you.” So, for no doubt many appropriate and accurate reasons, I’ve been reminded more than once recently about my “privilege talking.” Yep. Guilty….

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Christ icon, Hagia Sophia

Ain’t It the Truth?

February, 2021

The Bible lifts up competing narratives as a foundational human dilemma. While all of creation God proclaims, “very good,” God also warns the first humans that even in paradise there are boundaries, that enhance the…

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Special Delivery

January, 2021

We’re just now wrapping up our 12-day celebration of Mary’s delivery of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. First day of Systematic Theology 101 with Dr. Jenson, Gettysburg Seminary, 1983: Who is God? Simple answer: God…

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Hope is Stronger Than Memory

December, 2020

This time of year is so very nostalgic, even sentimental for those of us so charmed or privileged. We long for what was, for our ghosts of happy Christmas Past to visit sooner rather than…

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A Note from the Bishop

November, 2020

To be clear, the Synod Council, Assembly Planning Team, and Bishop’s Election Committee have made no formal recommendations yet about the 2021 NC Synod Assembly, but what I can tell you is that at least…

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