Tunnel Vision

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United Church of Christ


January 13, 2011

Tunnel Vision

Excerpt from Psalm 40:1-11

“Happy are those…who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods.” (Good News Bible)

Reflection by William C. Green

Idolatry is trusting what ends up breaking our hearts.  In our day the culprit is often said to be the love of money, success, pleasure, or, perhaps, a partner thought to offer as much.  But these are not the real heartbreakers.  What shatters us is more subtle.  It can sneak up without our knowing it.  It sounds less dramatic than the havoc it wreaks.  It’s called tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision fixates on part of what we face.  I see what I want to be true about a friend, a partner, or a job—or I see what’s dead wrong—and it’s as though that’s the gavel.  Court adjourned.  This way of reacting can acquire a godlike grip on us.  This is idolatry.  Devoted to our own moods and reactions we come to a dead end.  It’s heartbreaking.

When we’re finally disillusioned, what can we do?  We know we’re missing something.  It isn’t found where we’ve looked before.  But maybe then, like a beginning swimmer learning to trust the water, we can quit clutching our own feelings and look less anxiously at what’s before us.  Maybe we will learn that we’re held up by something broader and deeper than we’ve taken into account.  Faith gives that a name. The grace of God.


You hold me up in the palm of your hand, God.  Your love is what I’ve been looking for.  I see what I’ve been missing.  I want to look again at what I face.  Amen.

About the Author
William C. Green, a United Church of Christ minister, is the Director of Long Looking, a consultancy service specializing in fundraising and education for congregations. His new book, 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving, has just been published.

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The Stillspeaking Daily Devotional is a free service and is supported by your gifts to Our Church’s Wider Mission. Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America,adapted. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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