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I’m in a Thunder mood for sure. I’ll just warn you now, this week’s DHD is loaded with Thunder topics. The first three on the list pertain to other matters, but the final three is dedicated to the OKC Thunder. Let’s get to it.

  1. Tainted by politics

I shared a couple of months ago that I am bored with politics. I still am.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that we need a trusted leader. We still do.

It seems like when somebody in leadership gives sincere, admirable remarks, a critic is quick to arise and muddy up the speech.

I watched a video of John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, addressing the White House Press this week, and I truly appreciated what he said, especially the part of explaining how the military handles informing loved ones of a soldier who had died in the act of duty.

Again, because I’ve been bored with politics, I have not been in the know of what prompted Kelly to speak on this issue. I now know it was a response to a congresswoman, of whom I am unfamiliar, criticizing President Trump’s call to the wife of a fallen soldier.

If you have been following my DHD blogs for a while, you know I’m not a strong Trump supporter, though I will commend him when he does something I deem commendable. To hear someone in office attack the president by using information from a private call Trump made to a military widow seems out of bounds to me.

And then to hear negative commentary from media reports on Kelly’s speech to the media also was bewildering. As I said, finding a trusted leader who can be respected by all appears to be a lost cause due to the unwillingness of the masses to be objective and reasonable.

I will repeat the wise remark I have offered time and again that I heard from my pastor, “What I say about you says more about me than it does about you.” It’s one thing to express disagreements, but it’s another if expressed in such a way that can make you look worse than the one you are criticizing. This is for anyone who has eyes to see.

  1. Political peccadillos aplenty

Bruce Ashford doesn’t help solve my problem of finding a leader respected by all people of political stripes, but he did give a great guidelines to help each of us when we engage in politics. Check out “The 7 Deadly Sins of Political Junkies.”

“In the political arena, our pride manifests itself in our well-honed ability to spot the sins of people on the other side of the aisle, contrasted with our inability or unwillingness to see our own sins or the sins of our chosen political tribe… In humility, we recognize that God is the center of the universe; thus, instead of being navel-gazing me-monkeys obsessed with ourselves and our political tribe, we are liberated to serve our fellow citizens and work for the common good.”

  1. The importance of attending church

Check out Michael Kelley’s blog “4 Reasons to Make Your Kids Go to Church.”  He makes great points for parents, but I thought his reasons could apply to any age stage. It’s a temptation for a lot of people to skip church. This excerpt from Kelley’s first point “To teach the church’s purpose” is a good reminder that we need to be reminded:

“We go and meet with God’s people because we need to be reminded of who God is and His promises in the Bible. We need to be encouraged and held accountable for our Christian witness. And we need to participate in this for the sake of others, not just receive it from others.”

Adding to this, consider the encouragement you give to someone at church just by being there. Going to church is not only about what we receive from a worship service and a small group Bible study, but it’s also about what we can offer. This Sunday, if you’re struggling to get out of bed in time to make it to church, remind yourself that this could be a day you can have an impact on a fellow worshipper.

  1. Thunder stuff part 1

If you’re not an Oklahoma City Thunder fan go ahead and scroll on to your next reading preference, because I got a lot to share about OKC’s NBA squad.

Last night was the Thunder’s season opener against the New York Knicks. The game turned out how I expected, as far as the final score. Now with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on the team, the Thunder have a whole different look, especially compared to last year.

I am a little concerned about the offense. Both George and Anthony shoot a lot of jump shots, which is fine if they make them. Westbrook, though, was amazing as usual. He’s definitely not a one-man show anymore, but adding the two All-Stars refined Russ’ act. Westbrook finished with a triple-double, including 16 assists, but he shot fewer shots. In fact, Russ did not make his first bucket until the Thunder already had 20 points.

Something else that was bizarre about the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many traveling violations called at the NBA level. The officials called traveling nine times. NINE. Four came in the first quarter.

The Thunder will face much tougher opponents in the coming weeks, so I’m not expecting all the results to be as rosy as the Knicks outing. OKC plays 20 games in Oct. and Nov. combined. I predict the Thunder will be 13-7 heading into Dec.

  1. Thunder stuff part 2

One last thing about the Knicks. Enes Kanter is now playing for New York, but the big Turk is still loved in Oklahoma. After playing 2 ½ seasons with the Thunder, Kanter got a roaring ovation when his name was announced in the Peake last night. You could tell he appreciated the loud approval.

Kanter is a devout Muslim. The Thunder did a lot to accommodate his religious practices, including offering an office at the Thunder’s training facility for his prayer times and being considerate of his dietary conditions during Ramadan.

I don’t agree with Kanter’s religious views, but I can appreciate what the Thunder were willing to do for him. They helped build a trust and a friendship with Kanter, which led to the bond he had with all Oklahomans.

“For 2-1/2 years, I saw this state like my family,” Kanter said when interviewed by Oklahoman Thunder reporter Brett Dawson. “I’m gonna say this every time — this state gave me a lot. Not just this organization, but the whole state gave me a lot.”

  1. Thunder stuff part 3

The final DHD nugget this week is a shout-out to Hooper Stover who got a special phone call from Thunder General Manager Sam Presti. Hooper wrote a letter to Presti two months ago in order to encourage the Thunder to get Russell Westbrook to sign his mega five-year extension. In the letter, he enclosed his allowance money of $10 in order to “help keep Russ.”

The day after Westbrook signed his extension, Presti gave Hooper a call to thank him for his “help” in getting Russ to sign. Presti also offered him his $10 back as well as four tickets to the Thunder-Knicks game last night.

Check out the video of the phone exchange between Presti and Hooper (ht: Holly Sapp):