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Thou shalt not act out: Clergy share their advice to Thunder players and fans

by Carla Hinton Published: May 10, 2012

Rev. Randy Faulkner, senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church: The Thunder need to concentrate on playing basketball, sans distractions. James Harden and his teammates have shown a lot of class in this situation. I hope our OKC fans will too. The other night, I heard Denver fans booing (Lakers star) Kobe Bryant every time he touched the ball. Now maybe that is the inalienable right of paying customers and a part of the fun of the NBA experience. But just maybe the best way to “win” in this particular situation is to win big over the Lakers and let our playing do the talking.

The Thunder have been performing like men among boys. They have generally shown maturity beyond their years. I hope they keep it up! Scott Brooks and Sam Presti are quietly leading by example.

Darrell Stetler II, senior pastor of Bible Methodist Church: I'm a competitor, but I'm a Christian first. In the spirit of loving your enemies, I think it would be great to see each Thunder player go out of his way to shake the hand of Metta World Peace before the game ... and then trounce the Lakers, of course. Let's not get crazy ...

The Rev. John Salem, senior pastor of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church: I would advise James Harden not to feel pressured or compelled to turn the other cheek to Metta World Peace the next time around.

The Rev. Ben Brammer, senior pastor of Northwest Baptist Church: Players have led well. For the fans: 1. Maintain perspective; 2. Be a classy example to the young fans watching; 3. Booing may be fun but often antagonizes the visiting team to the point they use it as motivation. I know Ron Artest will.

The Rev. Mark Muncheow, senior pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church: Maybe this could be the theme Bible verse for the Thunder: Psalm 104:7 English Standard Version (ESV) “At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.” Let LA take flight and flee while they can!!!

The Rev. L.G. Parkhurst Jr., senior pastor of Stonegate Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Edmond: This week, my son Jonathan is attending the Oklahoma Special Olympics State Games in Stillwater playing golf, and as I reflected on your request while watching the competition here, I was reminded how the athletes, coaches, parents, and volunteers in Special Olympics demonstrate good sportsmanship consistently. The Special Olympics Oath is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Consistent with the spirit of Special Olympics, I would suggest a modified oath for all who enjoy playing and watching sports: “Let me win, but win or lose, let me act right in the event.” This modified oath would go a long way toward the prevention of many injuries and make the competition more enjoyable in my opinion.

Dave Evans, Highland Baptist Church, Moore: I guess if I was talking to a Christian player I think it's important for us to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit — love, patience, joy, peace, etc. It's not going to do us any good to try to retaliate. Just focus and be the best you can be and not worry about Metta World Peace. If those guys play the best they can, that will be the clearest message of all.