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Doctoral Defenses, June, 2017

June defense

Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Anthony Ike who successfully defended his doctoral thesis on the afternoon of June 7th, at the Dodge House. Dr. Ike’s thesis is entitled, Jesus, Logotherapy & Igbo Worldview: Search for Meaning, and was supervised by Rev. Dr. Anthony Nwachukwu. Congratulations to Dr. Ike who is pictured with the members of his doctoral defense panel, Dr. John Morgan and Rev. Dr. Ore Spragin, along with GTF President, Dr. Kendra Clayton.

June defense 2

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Shea who successfully defended his doctoral thesis on the morning of June 7th, at the Dodge House, administrative offices of the GTF. Dr. Shea, an attorney who is the Executive Director of St. Michael’s Legal Center for Women and Children, in Tampa, Florida, wrote a thesis entitled, “The Poor Will Always Be With Us.” This thesis explores the meaning behind Jesus’ statement, “The poor will always be with you” (Mt 26:11), which, according to Dr. Shea, is often misunderstood. In the photo Dr. Shea , who is third from the left, is pictured, from left to right, with Dr. John Morgan, chair of the defense panel, Dr. Kendra Clayton, GTF President, Rev. Dr. Ore Spragin, defense panel member.

Dr. Shea has written a brief overview of his thesis which follows.

The Poor will always be with us

By J. Michael Shea, JD, PhD

A summary

In my thesis, I looked at the often quoted and misunderstood quotation of Christ when he said, “the poor will always be with us,” Mt.26:11. The statement is often used by those who are of the persuasion that because Jesus said this he meant the poor are a part of society permanently and we just need to put up with them. This is also often cited as justification for not addressing the needs and necessities of the poor by some parts of our society. I wanted to know what Christ meant by this statement and what was His instruction as to what we as society should be doing about the poor. My studies and research took me first to Deuteronomy where we find the origin of the statement and that God is instructing Moses. And to paraphrase, He was saying, “If you had been following my teachings, there would be no poor, but as you haven’t, the poor will always be with you.” This is much more in keeping with the overall teachings of Christ and the New Testament.

I next considered the causes of poverty. My hypothesis was that it had something to do with the forms of government or governance a country had, religion in an area or the types of economies of an area. I looked at all types of governments, their religions and the various types of economies throughout the world. To my surprise there was no correlation between these factor, instead the most compelling factors was the size of the three groups within society, namely the rich, middle class and poor as groups. History shows us that when these groups are out of balance, namely the rich get richer and too large as a group; the middle class begins to shrink and the poor grow too large the result is usually unrest. A few examples would be the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution and even the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Nazi Party. A hard look at each revolution in history shows, that in each of these, there was an increase in the numbers of the rich, a decrease or very small group of people in the middle class and the ranks of the poor grow in large numbers. The best balance in history has been a small rich class, large middle class and a small lower or poor class. When I reached this conclusion, it suddenly became clear what had happened with the Brexit election, where the British population voted to leave the European Union and even the election of Donald Trump in the US.  The rich group has gotten very rich, the middle class has lost large numbers of jobs and the poor have grown and many people were pushed from the middle class into the poor category. This is because of globalization and technology as it has moved through our societies. I next explored what we should do to keep the groups of society in balance. The answer my friends is the teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.