Remember the Titans is one of my all time favorite movies. To me it’s a beautiful reminder that unity between two opposing parties is possible. It shows that once we take the time to get to know the soul of man, we stop judging him solely on his outward appearance. What a beautiful reality this is. Not only do the main characters unite as a team, but as brothers as well, and its as brothers that they would begin to unite their families and their community.
Remember the Titans is based on the true story of the 1971 Alexandria Virginia,TC Williams High School Football team and their coach Herman Boone. When the school decides that it’s time to integrate there high school, they hire Coach Boone to be the token black coach to appease the unhappy black folk, and give the illusion of unity. Because of the times, Coach Boone was given a seat at the table. Partially because those who created space for him at the table, ultimately expected him to be fail…to be a pawn for their cause, their political agenda. They thought that the task he was given, to bring black and white together to win a championship was too difficult…it couldn’t possibly be done. They gave Herman the resources he needed to hire the staff he wanted, to go to camp, to manage the team, all of this was done with the hope that he would lose and the white man would rise again. But Coach Boone, by God’s grace did not fail…he accomplished what he set out to do: to unite a team and raise up champions. Showing us that change is born from unity. “Diverse unfocused boys who were unwilling to talk to each other, broke the mold in the state of Virginia because they found a way to accept their teammates as equals at a time when it was neither popular, or in many cases safe. That brave mentality started them on a journey of a lifetime and once they decided to become a team, they battled under extreme circumstances until reaching the pinnacle of high school football, a state title.” Herman Boone
As the church we to are diverse and unfocused in many ways. Unwilling to take our conversations with one another to a greater level of intimacy. We have with are actions, or lack there of proven that we are unwilling to accept some of those within our body as equals. We’ve created our tables the same way we created our kickball teams in grad school. treating it as popularity contest. Until we accept those within our midst as equals within our body, sharing space with them at the table we will not visibly reflect here on earth the unity that we have in Christ. We won’t dare battle with one another in extreme circumstances. It isn’t until we see each other as equals that we’ll share space at the open table. That we’ll quit creating faux tables that aren’t reflective of the Lord’s. He who beckons all to come and dine. It’s not until we see each other as equals that we can move past tokenism. Tokenism only gets us so far on the journey towards true equality and shared space at the table. Being a token can be a great thing, but being a token is a hard burden to bear alone; to be the only one at the table without the support of others is a lonely place.
So how do we as the church create and maintain an open table that unifies and moves us past tokenism? 1.) We all need to become tokens for the needs of others. Making their needs our own (John 3:30). 2.) We can’t let the things of this world destroy the tables we’ve created. Division at the table will destroy the table. 3.) Remembering the open tables of the past; their successes and their failures. If we’re not willing to learn from the voices of the past we will never be catalyst for change in our present.