The elites don't understand the history

As a conflict in a large church I attended escalated, I contacted an elder to inquire about the situation.  Rather pointedly, I asked about the senior pastor in the center of the fracas.

"Is there sexual sin?"

"No," he replied.

"Is there financial misconduct?"


"Is he preaching heresy?"


"So what's the problem?"

"It's complicated."

"My wife's 30-year medical history is complicated," I responded.  "This doesn't sound that complicated."

Surprised by my remarks, he stammered, "There's a history you just don't know."

"The church is less than 25 years old, and I've been here for fifteen of those years.  Bring me up to speed and share why you're doing this."

Refusing, he restated that "it's complicated and you don't understand the history."

Eventually, I learned all the "history," and discovered that, as suspected, it was not complicated.  Turns out the culprits were things plaguing human beings for eons: jealously, greed, self-righteousness, and hatred — even in a church.  Even still, the conflict could have been worked out over a cup of coffee.  Instead, it festered due to personalities and pursuit of (and abuse of) power.

Elites often tell those outside their bubble that "it's complicated" or "you don't understand the history."  Elites seem to believe that others are not important enough to be "in the know" or smart enough to grasp the concepts.  Keeping people in the dark facilitates the accrual and abuse of power.  Verbal skills, inside information, and position can foster intimidation — and even bullying.

Whether in a church or in the halls of government, human behavior is the same. 

Clearly knowing human beings' propensity to deceive and control, America's Founders established a complex form of government that provided checks and balances on the three branches.  They even established a provision to protect free speech so that a "fourth estate" (the media) could monitor the government. 

Ironically, America's government construct has roots in Protestant church government structure.

What happens when the systems become so corrupted that few, if any, perform their duties as intended?  Society suffers when friendly media fail to investigate lies by someone with an agenda they support.  Trust erodes when politicians with scandalous behavior get a pass because of their ideology.  Justice decays when law enforcement officers deceive a nation.

Yet, when inquiries are made by concerned citizens, the same words spoken by that church elder seem to issue from elitist politicians, media, and academics.  "It's complicated — you don't understand the history."

Contrary to what the "elites" may think, the populace is paying attention.  Quarantining the country can have that effect.  Americans witness the petulance and hypocrisy.  When the speaker of the House preplans tearing up a state of the union speech for a political stunt, a nation notices.  Eyebrows are raised when a nation watches a congressional committee spew rehearsed disrespectful attack lines at an attorney general.  When a faux impeachment consumes a country's resources while an adversary releases a contagion, people recognize government forsaking responsibilities and pursuing personal agendas. 

Sadly, that church split — and the founding pastor was fired after years of faithful service.  They even sent two deacons to stand guard as he packed his office.  A hallmark of elites is humiliation and abuse of power.  There were no moral issues or heresy.  Personalities and pursuit of power ripped an exceptionally beautiful church asunder.

America is watching politicians foolishly allowing cities to burn, histories desecrated, and loss of property and life.  An exceptionally beautiful country is being rent asunder over personalities and lust for power.

Even church splits, however, can become teachable moments for a nation.  It appears that an increasing number of Americans do not consider this "complicated," and they do indeed know the history — and learn from that history.  The responsible citizens of this country do not destroy, they build.  Yet when what they build is destroyed, the American people become angry.  They also see that these "elites" have glass jaws and simply cannot take a punch.

A storm is coming to this country, but the media and the "elites" push ahead in their bloodlust while ignoring the warning signs.

Perhaps they do not understand the history — or maybe it is just too complicated for them. 

Peter Rosenberger hosts the nationally syndicated radio program Hope for the Caregiver.  For more than 34 years, he's cared for his wife Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities.

Image: {{PD-US-expired}}

If you experience technical problems, please write to