Stupid Religion



I just had another one of those conversations.  The conversation I seem to have a lot these days with my Christian friends. Gay and straight. About what it means to be a Christian.

Am I still a “good Christian” if I don’t go to church? Am I a good Christian if I cuss, if I have sex with my girlfriend or boyfriend? And of course, that one question that seems to preoccupy the evangelical world right now: Can I be a good Christian if I’m gay?

Franklin Graham, the hostile son of that epitome of Christian kindness Billy Graham, thinks not.  And he’s spouting his morality-driven view of Christianity in all the media.  For him, and for many in the church world, Christianity is defined in terms of do’s and don’ts. Rules. Outward behavior.

And ya know, to some extent, I would agree with that. But only to the extent that “behavior” is defined as how we treat other people.

Christianity, at least for most Protestants, is defined by our faith in Jesus, and then how that faith translates into real life. More than just simple head-knowledge or believing something to be true, it is the transformational power of relationship with the Living God that defines us – proves us – to be true followers of Jesus. In a word, what makes us “good Christians.”

And that’s what I’ve come to conclude, after living my entire life in the church, growing up in a conservative evangelical home, going to an evangelical, charismatic seminary, and wrestling with God to sort out my own relationship with him.

Any so-called religion that does not result in a growing relationship with the Living God is a fake.

And any religion that does not transform you to treat other people around you in a better, more loving way is garbage.

If your religion – even if you can pull up all kinds of Scripture to justify your actions – results in alienating or hurting people, guess what?  You don’t know God, and you are not practicing God’s ways. You are not walking in the way of Jesus.  Period.

Because, at the core of it all, Jesus did not come to give us another book of holy rules to live by.

God is love, and the one who walks in love, lives in God, and God lives in him. … The one who claims to love God but treats his neighbor badly is a liar. – 1 John 4

A friend messaged me today on Facebook, in dismay over the cruel and cutting comments he received in one Facebook Christian group. They were targeted against “the gays,” of course, and our so-called delusion that we were saved.  My friend was puzzled how they could be so mean yet claim to have the truth.  For me, it was the same old, tired, story.  Stupid religion.  Words, Bible-knowledge in the head that never transformed the heart.

And this isn’t just a Christian thing.  Americans in general love to pick on Muslims and claim the actions of the radical fundamentalists are obviously not the actions of a Loving God – it’s a fake religion.  I’d have to agree – not about Islam in general, but about the hateful actions of radical fundamentalists.  And Jews, I’ve seen the reality of throwing stones and cold-hearted shunnings of the ultra-conservative against those who do not dress appropriately or honor the Sabbath as they believe it needs to be.  Even Buddhism, that religion known for its peaceful focus, has militant sects.  And my New Age/New Spirituality friends who have helped me see God in new and expanded ways … I see hearts seeking contact with the Universe, but sometimes in manipulative ways, trying to re-establish links with our own divinity in order to get what we want out of life.  And we Christians are no different. We have our militant sects, our KKKs, our Westboro Baptist Churches, our Franklin Grahams, even our seemingly Biblical messages coming from Assembly of God pulpits promoting a cultural agenda instead of offering the life-giving words of a Loving God.

Where is the personal transformation that comes from the faith? Where is the reflection of the God who sacrificed himself so that he could establish a better connection with humanity?

StupidReligion-274835316_3c95528b66_zI saw just a few days ago another post on Facebook by well-meaning Christians, trying to encourage holiness and morality in our “easy-believism” faith.  They quoted Jesus, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And their emphasis was on keeping the laws of morality and purity, of “cleaning-up” the life of the Christian.  And my first thought was, “and what were Jesus’s commandments?”  “This is my commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you.  By this the world will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35; 15:12,17)

Funny, Jesus didn’t say the world would know us by our clean-cut looks, our short hair, our modest clothes, or our sexual abstinence. He didn’t say our church attendance was the fulfillment of the law.  He said it was Love.  Period.

“But we do love you,” many Christians say. “That’s why we are trying to get you to stop living your sinful lifestyle.”  Or, in other words, “we love you, sinner, but we hate your sin.”   Haven’t we debunked that view enough already?  You cannot truly love someone while you are throwing stones at them. That’s not the life Jesus demonstrated for us.

If your religion is not transforming you to love your neighbor – to treat your neighbor as you want to be treated – then you are deceiving yourself. The truth is not in you. And you do not know the God you claim.

It’s really that simple.  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and yet do not do the things I say?” Jesus asked.

My friend today did not know how to respond to those harsh words wielded by “good Christians.”  Honestly, he didn’t need to respond. Sometimes battling words accomplishes nothing. No one listens. No one is changed. But for his own reassurance, I suggested this.


It really is that simple.

Love God. Love your neighbor.

And that “love neighbor” stuff isn’t just some vague, undefined feeling: “oh, yes, we love those sinners.” It’s your heart transformed by the power of God into loving action. It’s how you treat them. It’s what you say to them.

All the rest, all the verses from the Bible you can quote and hurl at people to prove your point that what they’re doing or how they’re living is wrong – all that is just religious technicalities. It is law. It is death. There is no life in it.

Without real love, all you have is a stupid religion.


photo credits:
Angry God, Matt Katzenberger – flickrcc
Church Rules, Debby and Gary – flickr, cc


[box type=”bio”]
STEVE SCHMIDT serves on the pastoral staff of Expressions Church in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.

He blogs here on IMPACT Magazine’s Cafe Inspirado column, and you can always find him skulking on Facebook.


Big Problems Just Mean a Big Life

big-problems_3537904106People with small lives don’t have big problems.

That was the nugget of wisdom that fell out of my mouth during a talk with a couple of friends about the $h!t-storms they were experiencing recently.

Drama and trauma with friends. Bosses. Legal issues. Relationship issues. Money issues. Crises that just seem to happen out of nowhere, that blindside you. And you’re stuck there, confused, steaming with anger, wondering where the heck God was, and what he was doing – or if he was doing anything at all.  Does God even care?

“Is God cruel?” my friend asked.

This is real life stuff.  Stuff happens. Life happens, and it isn’t always pretty. And we shouldn’t expect it to be.  Even with God on our side, we should not expect everything to just fall into place easily, readily, smoothly, and think we’re just gonna experience happiness, peace and joy all the time.  It’s just not realistic. Nor is it good faith.

And a scene from the life of Moses suddenly took on new relevance. I don’t remember if it was in The Ten Commandments movie or not, but there’s this scene after Moses has his encounter with the Burning Bush, and God commissions him to go tell Pharaoh to “Let my people go!”  The Hebrew people had become so populous in Egypt that the Egyptians feared they were becoming a minority in their own country. So the politicians decided to implement a form of immigration control: first, kill all the newborn Hebrew baby boys. Then enslave the people (to keep them under control). And after Moses passes on God’s message to the top dog, Pharaoh, to let the people leave to get on with their purpose, Pharaoh responds by ordering that straw no longer be given to the Hebrews in order to fill their daily quota of brick-making. Now they had to go scrounge for straw themselves – and not miss their quota: “not one brick less!” (Exodus 5-6)

And the Hebrews do what we all do. Gripe. At the slave-drivers, at their foremen, at Pharaoh, and even at Moses.  “Why have you done this to us? You have made us a stench in Pharaoh’s nose, and now given them a reason to exterminate us. May God judge you for what you have done” – this from the Israelites to Moses. And you know Moses had to be thinking, “this is what I get for trying to help.”

So Moses gripes to God. “Lord, why have you caused all this trouble for them? Why did you even send me here? Ever since I went to the king to speak in your name, he has treated the people worse than before. And you have done nothing to help them!”

Moses expected great things. He had this moving encounter with God, gotten his marching orders, received a new purpose in life, a new mission. He was gonna be the savior of his people.  And it all just got worse. It all went downhill from that point on.

And most of us will experience this in life. We get a moment of inspiration, we discover a new found purpose and meaning to life. We may even have had a fresh encounter with God that has revitalized our spiritual life.  We’re on fire with new life, new excitement, new mission, new energy, new purpose. Everything seems to make sense now: “this is what I’m on this planet to do!”  And then … everything begins to fall apart. Nothing works out the way we planned. All the scenarios we played out in our heads about how things would happen, how our life would go, how events would transpire … all come crashing down around us. And we’re left traumatized and in shock.  Shaking our heads to clear the confusion – what just happened? Did I make all this up? Was this just some fantasy, some delusion?  What happened to God? Why is all this crap happening to me?!

And here’s God’s response: “Now you will get to see what I’m about to do. By my mighty hand and my outstretched arm, I will compel Pharaoh to let my people go.”

In other words,
the bigger the problem, the greater the power.

The deeper the crap, the more amazing the outcome.

Little problems don’t require divine intervention. We can handle them ourselves. What bragging-rights does that give God?  It’s the big stuff, the stuff too big for us to handle, that requires the supernatural, the miraculous.

People who are content with little require little. Those who are happy to have small lives, to just have a convenient job, to pay their bills and have a comfortable home where they can just relax and watch the football game on Sunday afternoon – what need do they have of mighty displays of the miraculous?

My gut feeling when talking with my friends about the startling amount of difficulties they were experiencing was that they were destined for bigger things. Big trouble means a big life.

That doesn’t mean that every little situation was going to work out wonderfully. That did not mean that suddenly things were gonna start falling into place.  Even knowing God was working in the process does not mean it was gonna be easy.  In fact (unfortunately!), it often means the opposite.   But it’s the big picture where things begin to make sense. It’s in the looking back afterwards that we get to see the divine power at work, doing things beyond our control, even beyond our imagination. And it never is how we expect. God never works in ways that we could have predicted.  That’s way too small for him, way to restraining. And way too small for us!  We deserve bigger things. For those who want it, for those who feel it deep inside their gut, we have bigger things in store, bigger destinies. Destinies that touch the world around us.

Those who don’t want that kind of big life probably won’t experience these kinds of big difficulties.  They’ll have challenges appropriate to the size of their dreams.

And for Moses and the complaining Hebrews, they got to witness the amazing hand of God – to the point that we’re still talking about 3500 years later. And they even made a movie about it.  Beyond that, here’s a little nugget: they not only got a new freedom and vision for themselves, they get to see a new side of God they hadn’t seen before. “I appeared to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as El Shaddai, God Almighty. But I did not make myself known to them by my holy name, Yahweh, “I AM”.  This name is for you, from now on …”   Oh, and by the way, “I have heard their groanings, I have seen their troubles, I remember my promises, and I will deliver them …”

That’s the message to those going through some deep doodoo right now. It never happens like we expect. And we gripe and moan about it. That’s okay. That’s human.  It’s the end results that count.  The bigger the problem, the greater the solution. The more resistance, the more spectacular the outcome.  Or, as the Apostle Paul puts it in Romans 8:28, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose…”

To doubt God, to ask where he is in all the stuff that’s going on, that’s human. It’s okay.

Our mistake is putting our “faith” in how we expect God to do things, rather than “trusting” that he’s gonna work it all out in the end.

That’s the real mark of a vital faith, a solid spirituality.  “We’re gonna get through this, and God is gonna make it all work out for our good. And in the process, we’re gonna grow, we’re gonna become better and stronger, and we’re gonna see a new face of God we’ve never known before.”

So as hard as it might be to do in real life, our game plan when going through the deep doodoo is pretty simple: Don’t focus on the immediate situation. Don’t lose heart over the immediate circumstances. Don’t get lost in the details of the small picture. The grander scheme, the big picture, is where it all makes sense. The more complicated the situation, and the uglier the mess, … the more clearly it indicates a bigger outcome, a more beautiful and purposeful life.

Small lives don’t require a divine “outstretched arm and mighty hand”.  Big lives do. And that’s where you’re headed.
photo credit: B Rosen via photopin cc
[box type=”bio”]
STEVE SCHMIDT serves on the pastoral staff of Expressions Church in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. He blogs at, and you can always find him skulking on Facebook.

Tying God’s Hands with Our Expectations

expectationOne of the things I love about my “new spirituality” friends is that they’ve helped increase my faith in God.  They walk around with an expectation that good things are going to happen to them.  They speak positive things “into the Universe,” and they believe that good things will “manifest” to them.  By any other name, that’s faith.

Of course, some of them think of “the Universe” as just some cosmic force, as creative power that can be tapped into and manipulated to achieve what one wants in life.  Others take a more personal approach.  They see a “the Universe” as alive, full of love, as a personality, more along the lines of how traditional Christians view God.  In other words, a person.  And they interact with It/Him in real time. It is a real spiritual dynamic in their life.  And as a Christian, sometimes I really envy that.

The difficulty I have is when they treat this divine source/God as just some sort of cosmic power source that can be drawn from indiscriminately, or as a piggy bank of creative energy that can be tapped into at will for sometimes selfish gains.  In that sense, they are no different from most of us who pray and present our lengthy shopping lists to God.  Sometimes all we want of God is what we can get out of him.  And when I see this in other people, just how inappropriate that approach is becomes more striking to me.  God is not a bank account to be withdrawn from at will, he is a person who desires interaction.   “New spirituality” usually views “the Universe” as intellect, even perfect love, but without will, without personality.  And I can’t understand that. Raw intelligence, raw source of creative power, without will or personality?  Surely, Divine Intelligence would resist petty human manipulation, would insist on recognition and even a relationship of love.

When we interact with God, when we pray, when we seek things from God, we need to do so as though we’re interacting with a living being, a Person.  We’re told all through the New Testament that we should have faith, but that faith is in God, not just in some impersonal force that creates the results we are seeking.  We have faith in the fact that God loves us and wants the best for us.  We have faith that when we ask for things, he knows the best way to get them to us if they’re good for us.  And sometimes that means he will say no — like any loving parent.  We have to be willing, we have to be open, to the idea that he may say no, or that he may do things for us in ways that we do not expect.

Expectation, frustration & leprosy

There is a story in the bible that highlights this point.  Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram.  He was a great man, a valiant soldier, and he was highly regarded by the king.  But he also had leprosy.  He hears that there is a prophet of God in Israel who may be able to heal him, and he gets permission from his king to go see the Prophet Elisha (2 Kings 5).  When Naaman gets to Elisha’s house, with all his horses and chariots and his hundreds of pounds of gold and silver, Elisha doesn’t even bother to answer the door.  He sends his servant instead.  And the servant tells him, “go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman storms away angry.  “I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and I thought he would wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy…”

Elisha didn’t do things the way Naaman expected, and Naaman walked away.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Naaman’s servants whisper some words of wisdom in his ear (isn’t that what friends are for?).  “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?  How much more, then, when he tells you ‘wash and be cleansed!’” Naaman sees the logic in this, and then goes and does what the prophet had told to do: he dips himself in the tiny, muddy, insignificant Jordan River seven times.  And, wonder of wonders, he’s healed.  His flesh is restored and was clean like that of a young boy.

hands-tiedHere’s the point.  Naaman expected the prophet to do things in a certain way.  He expected the prophet to come to see him personally.  He expected the prophet to utter the name of his God.  And he expected the prophet to wave his hand over his wounds in some kind of magical gesture.  That’s how he envisioned he would be healed.  And because Elisha didn’t do any of those things, Naaman almost missed a blessing.  He walked away without his healing.  And if his servant hadn’t been wise enough and gracious enough to point out his stubbornness, Naaman probably would have died from leprosy.

Sometimes we miss God because we’re looking for something else.

Sometimes we miss the blessing because it doesn’t come in a way that we expect.

We all have shopping lists, we all have checklists of things we would like from God, and sometimes we even foolishly tell God how we would like him to accomplish them.  We usually don’t think of it this way, but we are actually trying to tell God how to do his business.  Naaman had faith, but he also had expectations.  And his expectations nearly nullified his faith.  When we go to God with our requests, with our special needs, when we want a new lover in our life, a new job, a raise, a better social situation, better health, or any number of good things we may have on our list, it’s best for us just to go to God trusting that he is a loving father, and that he wants to provide for us.  When we step over into telling him how to do it, that’s when we risk losing it all.

Let’s bring things down to earth a bit.  Say you’re single.  You’ve been looking for a spouse, a partner, a new boyfriend or girlfriend.  And you’ve probably been taught in well-meaning churches trying to encourage your faith that you should be very specific in your requests to God.  You should know exactly what you want.  You should create a “blueprint for your faith.” So, you may have said, “I want him to be tall, dark, and handsome.  I want him to have brown eyes, dark hair, to be a certain height and weight.  I want him to have the heart of a Romeo, the gallantry of a Lancelot, to be self-supporting and financially independent, to be masculine, ….”   None of those is a bad thing.  But we can become blinded by our checklists, by our too-specific expectations, so that if God were to drop our dream man right in front of us, we might not even recognize him.

The same with a job.  Say you have specific desires for your next job.  You’d like more flexible hours, better salary, better working conditions.  You would actually like to enjoy the people you work with, doing a job that suits your talents and your interests.  And you know exactly what it is you want to do, you know exactly what it looks like.  So you pray that, and you tell God exactly what you want.  So now you’re scanning the internet, looking at all the job sites, looking for your dream job.  And most likely, you’re not finding it.  But there are several that are close candidates.  So you apply to those.  And some of them even respond to you and invite you to interviews.  One of them even offers you the position.  But you have to pray about it, searching your heart, probing the heavens, seeking the will of God to know if you should take this job or not.  Your friends may be telling you not to take it because it’s not what you were praying for.  Or they may be telling you to be practical and take what you can get.

You have to go with your guts. God is spirit, and you are a spiritual being.  Most of the time, he will try to communicate with you spiritually, through your spirit. And that normally translates as gut feelings, instincts, intuition. So, what is your gut saying to you?

And even though this wasn’t your dream job, it didn’t fit all your checklist items, all your expectations, you decide to take it.

And now you’ve given God the opportunity to do what only God can do.
To do some of that “God stuff.”

I’ve been in both these situations I just described:  I dictated my wish list to God for a new life partner and for a new job.  And at least in my case, neither of these situations worked out exactly as I was expecting, what I had set my “faith” upon.  But in each case, God did some pretty wonderful stuff.  When I let go of my detailed spec list, my dating life took on a whole new dimension I wouldn’t have imagined. And that job turned into a career path that’s paid my bills comfortably for years. Because, like Naaman, I was persuaded not to stubbornly walk away angry because my specific details were not being met line by line, I untied God’s hands, and he was free to move in my life in ways that he saw fit, not as I dictated to him.  And I’m a better man in a better situation now because of it.  I’ve learned more, grown more, become richer not only financially but also emotionally, psychologically, spiritually — because of these prayer requests that were answered not exactly the way I wanted.

If I’d been stubborn, if I’d said “no, this is not what I’m looking for,” then I would have missed out on both those blessings.

It’s good to have faith.  And it’s good to make checklists.  It’s good to identify what we want and what we don’t want.  But we also have to realize that God is not a coke machine or a juke box.  We can’t just push some buttons and expect to get exactly the product we want.  This is where I part with my new spirituality friends.  We can’t just “speak it out to the Universe” and expect it to “manifest” exactly as we describe.  We’re dealing with a Person who is more powerful and has more options available than we do. He sees things we can’t even imagine yet. And it’s best if we give him as much flexibility and leeway as possible to accomplish those goals for us.

Naaman almost missed it.  He knew exactly what he wanted and how he want it to happen.  But reality didn’t work out quite the way he imagined.  And his expectations nearly robbed him of the blessing.  But because he listened to the wisdom of his friends, and stopped being so stubborn, he let God do it the way God wanted to.  And he walked away a healed man.

We are children of an amazing, powerful, and loving God.  When we speak, he listens.  And Jesus said in the gospels, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32).  He wants to give us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4).  But the key to receiving the desires of our hearts is to not tie God’s hands with our too-specific expectations.  Our faith must be in God, as a loving father, not in the specific ways and means we expect him to do things.

We have a relationship with a Person, a personality, someone who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day.  There’s a degree of trust in that relationship, a trust that he knows us personally, and loves us personally.  And if we give him the flexibility of our trust without tying him down with our detailed expectations, we might actually be surprised at what good things he will do for us.



[box type=”bio”]
STEVE SCHMIDT serves on the pastoral staff of Expressions Church in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. He blogs at, and you can always find him skulking on Facebook.

Misfiring Faith

I come from a faith tradition that believes in miracles. We believe in divine healing, in supernatural provision, uncommon blessing, in Gifts of the Spirit like speaking in tongues and prophesy. We believe that God still speaks and moves today like he did in Bible times. But we also sometimes carry a heavy burden of “faith”. It’s the doctrine that God has given us authority to exert his power — if we have faith to believe it. And sometimes, I’ll admit, that faith is pretty elusive. So if some tragedy happens to us, if we lose our jobs or a loved one, if we get sick and recovery seems slow in coming, if our finances are a mess and the blessing isn’t falling like rain, we tend to beat ourselves up — if some caring brother or sister isn’t already pointing the finger at us — for our lack of effective faith. “Well, you know,” they will say, if we haven’t said it to ourselves, “‘if you only had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, Be removed and cast into the sea, and it would be done.” Guilt, on top of trouble.

Jesus apparently had that same problem sometimes. The same man who caused a fig tree to wither just by speaking to it also could only perform a few minor healings in a certain town because no one had faith and the power just wasn’t flowing. And that stymied him. Faith, real faith that unleashes miraculous power, is a rare commodity.

Faith is also selective. And I think this is where most of us miss it. We tend to take the shotgun approach: aiming at whatever target is in front of us at the moment and yanking away recklessly at the trigger. But faith is really a sniper’s rifle, a bolt-action, single shot weapon. When Jesus was walking along one day in the suburbs of Jerusalem, he runs across the pool of Bethesda where sick people would wait for the water to stir, then try to crawl into it to be healed. Like a modern-day evangelistic healing crusade, this place was packed. “Here a great multitude would lay, waiting …” (John 5:3). But Jesus picks out a single man. “Do you want to get well? … Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” What about all the others? This guy had been there a long time, to be sure. 38 years. But there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about this guy. In fact, the quality of his faith isn’t even mentioned.

When the religious leaders of the day challenge Jesus (because it happened to be the Sabbath, and miracles make religious people nervous), Jesus points out a few things. “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. … I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:17-19).

A long time ago I was in a small group conversation with a pastor in Argentina. At the time, he was well known for his massive crusades where healings regularly took place, so naturally, they were always packed. He commented that it seemed like God tended to focus on one type of healing at a time in his meetings. One night, blind people would be healed. On another night, it would be the deaf or lame. This apparently bothered him, so he asked God about it one day in prayer. “Lord, why do you do it that way, and why are some types of people healed and others not?” God’s answer, he told us, put him in his place and at the same time, set him free from worrying about such things. “None of your business.”

This pastor, like Jesus, just did what he was told. He only cooperated with what God was already doing. And if God chose to heal only people with eye troubles that night, then that’s what he’d go along with.

Our faith needs to be targeted the same way. We need to stop trying to command that mountain unless we see God already moving it and he specifically instructs us to speak the words. And it’s not like we’ll be sitting around for long periods of time with nothing to do. “My Father is always working — even to this day.” We just need to remember that when we try to assert divine authority “in Jesus’ name”, then Jesus needs to be the one actually giving the direction.

I believe in miracles. I believe in divine healing, in supernatural provision and blessing. But faith is the powder inside the sniper round. And I shouldn’t try to pull the trigger until given the order to fire.