Song Explanation: Tunnel Vision

This is the first in a series of posts explaining the songs from Flight Metaphor’s self-titled album. While music fans are always free to glean their own meaning from the songs they listen to, I’ve always been curious about the intent behind my favorite songwriters’ words. The songs on this album have a special meaning for me, so I thought I’d share them with anyone who cares to listen.

Tunnel Vision
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
– 1 John 2:9

The thing I love about this song is that when I shared an early version of it with my friends, they called it a swing and a miss. The fact that it’s now the lead track on our album is pretty satisfying – it’s a testament to my band’s patience whenever I present them with a new idea, and it shows how much better my songs become when they’re involved.

Tunnel Vision is a song about being right about all the wrong things. Someone can know the Bible backwards and forwards, but if they can’t love people the way Jesus does, their theology is worthless. I’ve seen too many Christians (including myself) focus so much on the smallest things that we lose sight of the bigger picture. We trade in the stuff of God’s Kingdom – grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing, redemption – for judgment and infighting. We care so much about being right that we don’t care if we’re turning people away from Jesus!

All the while, we’re caught up in our own insecurities. We spend so much of our time and energy keeping tabs on everyone else that we start to think that our salvation is earned. Of course, no good Christian would ever say that, but our behavior betrays how we truly feel. We’re scared that we don’t measure up, and it cripples us.

Ultimately, this song is an attempt to paraphrase Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Note that Jesus refers to “your brother.” Oftentimes this passage is used to call off judgment leveled on the rest of the world, but it’s just as applicable for two Christians quibbling over theological minutia. Tunnel Vision is my polite way of telling myself and every other Christian tempted by this line of thinking to knock it off.

The bridge also introduces a theme that’s fairly prevalent Flight Metaphor: light. (I originally wanted to call the album Light Songs for Heavy Souls.) In Tunnel Vision, the light represents Christ giving us a new way of looking at things. It’s also a thinly veiled reference to Paul’s conversion experience…I think I was listening to a lot of Thrice when I wrote it.

Focus in on whatever you want
It’s gone, it’s gone
Doesn’t matter what motive you’ve got
It’s gone, long gone

Oh, my eyes are stuck with tunnel vision
So short sighted, all of my decisions
So afraid unnecessarily
And I’m frozen to the bone

Dress it up however you want
You’re wrong, you’re wrong
Doesn’t matter what motive you’ve got
You’ll still be wrong, dead wrong

Just let your insides out
And step into the light
And burn away your eyes
And you’ll be given sight

You can stream and purchase Flight Metaphor via Bandcamp.

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