Religious poetry offers outlet for students

Poetry offers the expression of feelings and ideas, organizing language with rhythm. It creates pictures in the form of ballads, flowing freely with its blank verse and haiku models.

Outside of its complexity, there is a type of poetry that is seldom seen; religious poetry. This distinct form of poetry inspires reverence and devotion for the word of God.

Malcolm McFarlane, 20, a third-year political science student from West Palm Beach, uses religious poetry as his instrument to channel his spirituality through the power and persuasiveness of spoken word.

When McFarlane started writing poetry, he did not view it as a gift, and was inspired by girls more than God.

“I spoke with girls, never looking at my poetry as a gift, but as a means to an end,” McFarlane said. “I stopped writing my senior year because I had nothing left to write for except the audience of one girl.”

He got involved with Every Nation Campus Ministries as a freshman, and began writing again after his conversion.

“I was given new hope and compelled to write again, because I learned that God sacrificed his life for me, and I decided to sacrifice my gift of writing to him,” McFarlane said. “When you encounter God, you can truly reach your potential with your talent.”

Dave Hess, a youth pastor at Every Nation Campus Ministry, works as a with young poets to help them use their religion as inspiration for their art.

“Religious poetry is a great way to let people hear your heart, and a great medium for people to hear God, communicating truth in a way that is artistic,” Hess said.

“The specific mission of this ministry is to know Christ, and make him known on FAMU’s campus.”

At Florida State University, Dena Karlin, 21, a fourth-year business management student from Deerfield Beach, began to write poetry her senior year after receiving motivation from her high school friend, Ray Dominguez, who she said saw her potential as a poet.

“I was living in a way in what I thought was Christianity, but I wasn’t under Lordship, and neither was my poetry,” Karlin said. “When I completely gave myself to God, my words didn’t change, but the effects of them had.”

Nico Castro, 20, a third-year accounting student from Palm Bay, started writing by mimicking artists’ verses, and rapping to instrumentals.

He gave his life to God at a Christian concert, and wrote his first poem entitled “Believe.”

“I use my gift to give people an understanding of the Bible through the form of poetry,” Castro said.

“My three E’s of poetry are to exhort, edify and encourage. Religious poetry fluctuates in its forms, but continues to persist with its message.”