“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.”
– opening lines to Ralph Ellison’s powerful 1947 novel Invisible Man.
A Helpful Word in Preparation of the Study
Which of the following best represents the way you attempt to secure your own righteousness, or how you “get righteous” on others? What is missing from the list?
“Health-righteousness: You’re not eating well. I had better enforce my dietary habits on you.
“Language-righteousness: You used the word fortunate, or lucky. (Don’t you believe in the providence of God?) You keep on splitting the infinitive. You ended a sentence with a preposition!
“Holiday-righteousness: How on earth can you do that on Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and so on?
“Entertainment-righteousness: You put your TV in the center of your living room, play computer games, and watch videos. This indicates that you are worshiping entertainment.
“Finance-righteousness: How could you spend your money on that? I would never do that. You do not manage your finances as well as I do. This could have been given to the poor (Judas).
“Theological/Ideological-righteousness: How could you possibly hold that view?
“Political-righteousness: I can’t believe you voted for…
“Kids-righteousness: You have such poorly behaved children. I am clearly a better parent than you.
“My-righteousness: How dare you criticize me!
“Anti-Pharisee-righteousness: Why are you so dull, condemning, and judgmental? I would never judge someone like that.
“We love being right and looking good—pretending that were better than we really are. We also love pretending that the people around us are far more messed up than we are — this way we’ve given ourselves permission to yell at them, shame them, criticize or crush them. But if we stop and think about it, we know our righteousness isn’t any kind of righteousness at all, let alone God’s kind. So let’s give each other some grace here as we explore what to do about all this righteousness that comes purely from self.“
Lyrics & Chord Sheets
For the “Praise” section of each lesson, we look at a song from the WEPC Doxology Album. As a resource to you, here
is a link to the lyrics for each of the songs.
Chord Sheets are also available. If you would like them, please contact Tiffanie Chan.