Friday, October 23, 2020

Food Waste


Food Waste

By 2030 some of the largest food suppliers

Have pledged to cut their food waste in half

Companies like Rice Krispies cereal, Hellmann’s mayonnaise,

And Spam have joined the 10x20x30 initiative

An effort to slash the amount of food discarded yearly


The process will involve companies to make annual reports

They will center on the sharing of information about food waste

As a Dannon executive stated that this would explore all options

The goal is to turn wasted foods into animal food or compost


Food waste has always been a sore point in the industry

And Walmart, Kroger, and Giant Foods have embraced similar pledges

They have enlisted their suppliers to commit to their plans

These food companies hope to accomplish such objectives set

By the United Nations General Assembly by 2015, to halve food waste


According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The supply chain throws away about 30 percent of the world’s food

This waste is a great contributor to the world’s climate change problem

This produce amounts to about 10 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions

So the food manufacturing industry is a player in climate change


It has been reported about 80 percent of waste food comes

From homes, manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants

These sources can do more by limiting such productions

By having consumers not toss out the excess in their daily lives

There should be a system that will enable them not to act badly


“Divine Provider, help food producers to curb their waste.  And let consumers realize that they have a responsibility in making more sensible decisions by the way they use their food.”


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Visitors in National Parks


Visitors in National Parks

Park visitors are stricken

By the pandemic that’s causing havoc

In fall the temperature is cooler

And there’s the annual ritual

Of trees displaying their colors

Leaves change to different shades -

Of red, brown, yellow, and purple


This is the time to visit the national parks

Be it Acadia, Shenandoah,

And the Great Smoky Mountains

But remember to wear your mask

Be prepared to practice social distancing

You can never tell who you’ll meet on a trail.


Be sure to plan your visits to avoid crowds

There’s usually congested traffic

On stretches of the roadway

Of the Great Smoky Mountains Park

But the park campsites sites are adequately spaced

And the facilities are cleaned regularly


By using lesser known trails

Visitors will have the peace of mind

Of enjoying an environment of beautiful trees

And the many trails wherever they go

It’ll be pretty and relaxing this time of the year

Although there’ll be less park attendants

Taking care of critical resources

That park goers have come to enjoy


“Great Provider, be with park attendants during this pandemic.  Help visitors so they will be able to enjoy the peace in the parks amidst the flowering leaves of trees.”


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Serenity Prayer


The Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was author of this prayer.

Since its inception in 1943,

The prayer itself has had an interesting history

It was hijacked in Germany,

The country where Niebuhr’s parents were born

Before settling in the United States


Niebuhr’s life was as a preacher, writer, professor,

And ambassador to European countries

Especially Germany and England

He interacted with the World Council of Churches

And shared his thoughts on ecumenical ventures

Of various denominations – Episcopalian, Methodist,

Congregationalist, Reformed, and Evangelical Lutherans


For 40 years Niebuhr was a pastor, and professor

At the Union Theological Seminary in New York

He ruffled feathers with his opposition to American neutrality

During World War Ⅱ, beliefs in racial equality,

And his outreach to the poor in the ghettos


Niebuhr was a guest on panels, was welcomed internationally

On the lecture circuit, known for his correspondence

With Church leaders, and lived to see Europe liberated

The serenity prayer captured life’s vicissitudes

By how Niebuhr responded to the challenges of his era


“Loving God, you have blessed mankind with the kind spirit of Reinhold Niebuhr.  Grant that his legacy will live on as we utter the serenity prayer known worldwide through the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings, and its many renditions on postcards, placemats, and souvenirs.”


Friday, October 9, 2020

Paralympics Games 2020


Paralympics Games 2020

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games

Are set for August 24 to September 5, 2021

This postponement resulted

From the coronavirus pandemic

That’s sweeping through nations


Paralympic athletes compete in different sports.

These range from archery, athletics, Badminton

To team sports like Football, Basketball, and Rugby

Paralympic Football is an adaptation of association football.

Wheelchair Rugby is a contact sport for players with disabilities.


These disability athletes compete in groups –

Amputee, cerebral palsy, visual impairment,

Spinal cord injuries, intellectual disability,

And those disabilities that don’t fit the previous categories

It’s similar in grouping athlete by age, gender or weight


Paralympic athletes train with a coach.

They are geared to meet the standards of their group

And are taught about their competition requirements

These basic procedures make them eligible to compete


“Omniscient One, you have created each person with a unique potential.  Help the disabled during summer and winter to compete, and bond with other competitors in the spirit of these sports.”




Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Faces of God


Faces of God

God is a paradoxical figure.

This Being isn’t a person

But the Creator of the world

God isn’t only anthropomorphized

But a multiple of personalities


God is a Creator, Destroyer, Advocate,

Deceiver, Trickster, Father,

Woman, Protector, and Friend

In these combinations God often acts

Indecisively, erratically, and moodily


God destroyed his descendants

In a flood that consumed the entire world

This Creator-God saved Noah and animals

Before showing a rainbow in the sky

Promising not to flood the earth again


Later God showed up as a warrior

Leading the Israelites out of Egypt

Across the Red Sea from Pharaoh

But God was vindictive

When He caused the Israelites

To wander for years in the desert

Bringing death and destruction

To those who disobeyed Him


“God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob you present believers with a polytheistic worldview of who you are.  Yet the faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam attest to being monotheistic.  Why did you tell mankind to be fruitful and multiply but you went back on your own promises? Help us to understand your nature.”


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lasting Peace


Lasting Peace

Let prayer be the light of your life

It’s the only way to live under God’s protection

It’s wise to pray for divine guidance

Live triumphantly and shout for joy

Let “Shalom! Peace!” Be your battle cry.


Accept that you might not always succeed

You may do your best and still not win

But with prayer just persevere

Set high goals to do what’s right

It’s your pleas on high for help that counts

Sooner or later your prayers will be answered


Prayer warriors should visualize the results

You should work at illuminating your goals

And always direct your beliefs to Allah, Brahma, or Dao

Have the peace that takes courage to bear fruits

And you’ll receive an olive branch of tranquility


The most certain way to succeed to pray without ceasing

Peace is what believers should always pursue

This is the basic truth about life’s journey

Believers will be blessed with justice and secured hearts

And transient peace will pass them by

Love and compassion will triumph in the end.


“Great Spirit, open our hearts to lasting peace.  Help us as we journey down the long and winding road that leads to personal fulfillment.”


Monday, September 28, 2020

Wildfires in the West


Wildfires in the West

In the summer months of 2020

Hot weather has renewed

Dangers of wildfires in the West

Extreme heat is causing

Many trees to burn

And the West Coast is experiencing

Intense cases of fires

Sweeping over millions of acres


Some 170,000 firefighters in California

Are battling 25 of these blazes

But there isn’t much they can do

For these fires are just sweeping across the landscape

Of Washington, Oregon, and California

Where dozens have been killed


Scientific evidence shows

Increasing air temperatures and drying soils,

With dead vegetation, and climate change

Increase the frequency for extreme fire risks

Homes built near forested areas

Have also been a very big problem

For wildfires engulf all these buildings

As they are swept along by strong winds


“Ultimate Provider, be with the firefighters in having the tools and know-how to fight such wildfires.  Help people so that they will play their part by not building more homes near forested areas.”


Monday, September 21, 2020

First, Do No Harm


First, Do No Harm

“Primum non nocere”

Is the Latin translation from the original Greek

For the oath, “First, do no harm.”

It’s the Hippocratic Oath that medical students take.

But it’s also the tenets enshrined

In the world religions of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism


Doctors will undoubtedly do harm

When they attempt to treat patients

How could they not order CT scans, MRIs, mammograms,

Biopsies, vaccinations, and blood tests?

These procedures could have deleterious effects.

But doctors have to recommend these tests

Because the potential benefits outweigh the risks


But religious faith traditions like Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism

Are known to have principles of “non-violence”

To these faith traditions the concept of “do no harm”

Not only extends to all living organisms of God’s creation

But to “how and what people think, their words, and deeds.”

For these believers “thoughts are influential in our interactions with all creation.”


“Universal Spirit, help us to use good judgment as we endeavor to “do no harm.”

Give us insight for making correct decisions in cases that are complex.  And help us to be wise in weighing the good benefits of our actions against the risk of harm.”

@ (Dfurstane) Website 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Prayer for the Nation


Prayer for the Nation

O God! Help America during these challenging times.  We have been hit by the coronavirus that’s reaping havoc in our midst.  To whom can we turn, but to you to find solace from isolation and pain.  Tens of thousands around the world have died terrible deaths from this disease.  There have been countless hospitalizations, and many patients are on ventilators.  When will there be relief?  When will this pandemic pass? Give strength to those working on the front lines.  Help the scientists to develop a vaccine to help free us from this deadly affliction.

America and nations around the world are in crisis, and your people are crying out for justice.  God put it in our hearts whether we are able-bodied, handicapped, gay, or straight to embrace the fruits of compassion.  Let us see all as equal in your sight, and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves.  Be with our legislators and the justice system to uphold the tenets of the law in the land, for all men and women of every race, creed, and national origin.

“Omnipotent and merciful God, hear our prayer!”


@ (Dfurstane) Website

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Prayer Heals!


Prayer Heals!

Oh what a night!

Stressing that things will be right

Turn to prayer for solace

Little did I know?

My fears gradually melted away

I was comforted

Became relaxed

As I invoked the name of the Creator


The Almighty is magnificent!

I embraced this Ultimate Reality

Crying for help about the pain I felt

When all of a sudden

There seems as though a light shone

Deep within my heart

That touched my soul

And I was healed


God works in mysterious ways

No more will I stress about my illness

But I know that I’ll be living with affliction

It’s the price to pay for being older

But I’m sure I’ve revived

Undoubtedly, it’s miraculous!


“Everlasting Spirit of new realities thanks for soothing me.  I felt your warmth and grace that overtook me.  And you made me whole again in mind, body, and Spirit.”


@ (Dfurstane) Website

Friday, September 11, 2020

Life's Passages: From Guyana to America


Life’s Passages: From Guyana to America

By Erwin K. Thomas

How has the Christian faith shaped my life?  Why did I pursue an education in America?   Why did I marry an American woman?  How did I get a break at CBS Network Radio News?  Why did I become an American citizen?  How did I eventually become a professor, chair, and graduate director at an American university?  Why did I become an author?  Why am I writing religious books in retirement?  These are some of the questions answered in Life’s Passages: From Guyana to America.  This book is a spiritual autobiography that traces my life up to the present time.  Its theme captures the role of a loving and caring God in people’s lives.  Readers will journey in the local environment of a small South American country of Guyana, and explore the realities of living as a student and professor in America.

It’s a great tribute to remember a few words of the lyrics from Neil Diamond’s popular song “America”.


We’ve been traveling far

Without a home

But not without a star


Only want to be free

We huddle close

Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes

They’re coming to America

Never looking back again

They’re coming to America

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Poverty & Culture


Poverty & Culture

 Some nations are gifted with a variety of cultures.  In this mix there are identifiable characteristics in languages, ethnicity, social classes, status, and rank.  But a commonality with these cultures is that they worship the same God.  These diverse groups share common characteristics.  John Thune (b. 1961), a U.S. Republican senator from South Dakota wrote, “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink.  It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom.  It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.”  Although America is a predominantly Christian nation with diverse groups, some of distinctly ethnic groups rally under its flag.

 American culture exported around the world reaches a community of nations.  One way is by the mass media that not only presents news and information 24/7, but sports, and Christian programing.  This fare via print and electronic media is carried by satellites, radio, TV, and the Internet.  Through the media America is able to share and exchange values about Christianity worldwide.  Because of these phenomena tourism is flourishing and citizens interact globally.  They experience the beauty of religious and historic sites, worshiping, and enjoying beaches.   Leslie Jamison (b. 1983), a novelist said, “Armchair poverty tourism has been around as long as authors have written about class.  As an author, I have struggled myself with the nuances of writing about poverty without reducing any community to a catalog of its difficulties.”  This was true.  Some see poverty stricken communities and rattle off statistics as though they know what poverty is all about. 

 Travel & Transportation

 Saint Augustine (354 AD–430 AD), an early Christian theologian and philosopher wrote, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  It’s also true that if people who live in one place have lived in all places.  Believers that do so are religious monks, nuns, and hermits that experience austere lives locked away in monasteries worshiping, and serving God.  These individuals it is said experience life to the fullest. 

 In many nations travel is encouraged and citizens take advantage of it.  There are however constraints on more than 7.5 billion people living worldwide in villages, and shanty towns.  These poor people are more concerned about having the basics, like a place to live, food to eat, and clean water to drink.  With adequate transportation poor people are able to travel from one place to another.  In the modern world - even in America, some lack transportation because they are unable to pay the fare.  Corrine Brown (b. 1946), a U.S. representative for Florida said, “States get to improve transportation infrastructure; that creates economic development, puts people back to work and, most importantly, enhances safety and improves local communities.”  Everyone benefits from having a good infrastructure.  Adequate public transportation goes a long way in helping poor people and the unemployed.  Such an improvement could well mean that the poor will have work opportunities in places other than their neighborhoods where they live.

 @ (Dfurstane) Website                      

Friday, August 28, 2020

Save Our Children


Save Our Children

Save our children who are drowning

in a vast cesspool.  A cesspool that some adult leaders

have created by their behavior and rhetoric 

Pay attention to what they watch on TV,

listen to on the radio, learn in school, and from their peers 

Parents must take an active role

in saving their kids from having dysfunctional lives 

It is our responsibility

to save children in these turbulent times 

It’s unwise to leave them to the whims of the world. 

Children are our nation’s future.


“God, help us to figure out the best ways to save our kids.  Let us always be cognizant that our children have to be nurtured and raised well to be decent human beings.  Guide us so that we don’t shirk these responsibilities.”


@ (Dfurstane) Website


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Good & Bad Wildfires


Good & Bad Wildfires

Wildfires can occur in any country -

United States, Canada, Australia,

And even the Western Cape of South Africa

Natural fires generally start by lightning.

Some are by spontaneous combustion

Caused by sawdust and dried leaves

And these fires burn by a number of other reasons

But there are good and bad forest fires


Wildfires are good when they are beneficial.

They turn dead trees and decaying plant matter into ashes

Causing nutrients to return to the soil,

Instead of being trapped in dead plant vegetation

So wildfires clear the decaying trees of debris by returning health to the forest

And some plants depend on the heat to help them germinate


Wildfires are bad when they destroy homes

Causing a loss of lives and millions of cultivated acres

People suffer and many species are wiped out

Such fires also kill trees that prevent erosion

Thus having a negative impact on the environment


In forests more trees die because of insect infestation,

And disease than from fires

So nature is both good and bad,

For fires help restore the forests’ ecosystem

And decomposed organic matter enriches the soil

With minerals and new plants grow


“Eternal Essence you have shown that from wildfires there could be good and bad results.  So help us to have a better understanding of nature.”


@ (Dfurstane) Website   





Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Happy Birthday Matthew


Happy Birthday Matthew!

Happy Birthday Matthew!

You’ve certainly brought much joy to our lives.

I remembered when your mom discovered she was pregnant.

It was surely a delightful day.


We attended Lamaze classes at Norfolk General Hospital

This was surely the way to do things right

But our instructor was patient

Getting your mom to the hospital as your great uncle was visiting was a challenge

But it all worked out well when you came into the world in the early hours of the morning on August 12, 1981


Surely your birth was a momentous occasion in our lives

As our only son, it felt like Christmas that August and months later

But raising you was challenging

I remembered the many feedings and diaper changes, kindergarten school, little league basketball games, field trips, and classes in Middle School

But by the time you were in High School you were responsible – working at Farmer Jack and learning to drive

Your adventures at James Madison University, and John Hopkins in Genetic Counseling, plus travels to Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago enthralled us

How much you’ve grown from these experiences


At college you navigated the dating scene

You met your soul-mate Shannon Mabry who you married

This was an extraordinary and fun wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia

Where you and Shannon have careers to this day

On this your 39th birthday, you’ve both been a great blessing to us!


“God, continue to bless Matthew on his 39th birthday.  May he continue to develop to his full potential! And bless his wife Shannon so that their lives will prosper.  These blessings we pray that you grant us.”


@ (Dfurstane) Website       

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Happiness of Flowers


The Happiness of Flowers

It’s happiness when flowers bloom.

They reveal themselves beautifully.

Look at their radiance

As they appear in shades of colors -

White, blue, red, green, and yellow

These are carnations, bellflowers, roses, clovers, and daisies

How glorious these flowers are to wondering eyes


It’s one thing to talk about flowers’ beauty

But it’s another to be captivated by their fragrance

Undoubtedly their effusive scents bring joy

And attract butterflies and bees

As they welcome their majestic ways


These flowers adorn our local gardens

Many gardeners embrace them as a labor of love

For they decorate buildings and notable sites of interest

People display flowers on happy occasions

Like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries

These beauties are also the center of attraction in sacred places

Especially churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues

So let us give thanks for the happiness of flowers

And the warmth and blessings they bring


“Eternal Wisdom let us adorn our homes and delight in the splendor of flowers.  Help us to rejoice and be glad about flowers’ importance in our lives.  For such blessings we ask of your Providence.”


@ (Dfurstane) Website






Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Sunlit Streams of Water

Sunlit Streams of Water 

Sunlit Streams of Water is a devotional that celebrates religious naturalism.  This book captures the symbolism of “sunlight,” “streams,” and “water.”  Its themes represent the life, energy, power, and rebirth shown in the sun.  Sunlight appears as the completion of the Creator’s great work.  Streams declare the passage of time, while water is the new birth as it flows into the vast oceans of life.  Much of this symbolism shows a pathway to our hearts.  But water itself represents not only birth, but also fertility, and refreshment.  It symbolizes life itself, and is used for purification and healing, alleviation of suffering, and redemption.  In Christianity it’s the symbol of baptism while the Holy Spirit is often depicted as celestial fire.  But to a religious naturalist nature in all its manifestations – sky, moon, stars, mountains, hills, valleys, trees, flora and fauna are Holy.  Scientific inquiry and the arts are prerequisites on which all reality is best interpreted.

Belief in Religious Naturalism
The author’s beliefs are a testimony to Transcendentalism with a faith in nature. In this treatise nature is paramount in people’s lives. Natural phenomena always played a vital role. Every aspect of nature is important to mankind’s thinking and actions.  Our mind, body, and soul are guided by nature. People shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that nature was separate from them, for they are intricately interrelated with its soul. Nature’s beauty is blended with all natural gifts.  “Nature is All in All,” and embraces every aspect of life.

To embrace the All in All is having an appreciation of the Creator’s manifestations.  The heavenly bodies - the sun, moon, and stars, known and unknown planets traversing the sky are phenomenal.  The trees, plants, oceans, rivers, streams, mountains, hills and valleys speak in their own language while buffeted by the wind.  So are the seasons – spring, summer, autumn, and winter with their distinct moods.  Sometimes it’s calm, beautiful, and glorious. Occasionally there are hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and forest fires.

But birds, reptiles, fishes, and animals of all sorts inhabit the earth living in the air, land, or sea.  They breed, feed, and exist in an unpredictable reality.  These creatures are provided for by nature.  People breathe fresh air, pick fruits, feast on delicious foods, and drink refreshing water; build cozy houses from trees, light fires to cook meals, and dress warmly in winter months with nature’s bounty.
These manifestations are only a part of the Eternal Essence that’s within, above, below, and around us.  To personalize such an Essence is only a metaphor.  It, S/he is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, immanent, and Transcendent.  No words could adequately describe the sum of this all-encompassing Reality.
@ (Dfurstane) Website