By Theresa Shadrix
The Alabama Baptist
May 6, 2004
In all of Mark Lowry's antics alongside gospel singer Bill Gaither, there is one thing Lowry wants to be — real.
“Be real for them like you want Jesus to be real for you,” Lowry said.
People will listen if they see what they’re going through is what others have been through, he said.
Lowry’s fusing of clean comedy and southern gospel music on TV and the stages of arenas and churches brings a chuckle and a tear, concert goers say. Among his Alabama church appearances are Hill Crest Baptist Church, Anniston; Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile; and others.
Throughout his 13 years as a baritone with The Gaither Vocal Band, Lowry often pokes fun at Gaither. “I think I am the only one that Bill allows to make fun of him,” Lowry said. “Who else would get to wear a wig and laugh at him?”
Along with appearing on the Gaither Homecoming Series videos and sharing the stage with other gospel music recording artists, such as Sandi Patty and Michael W. Smith, Lowry has made six comedy and musical videos during his 20-year career.
In a phone conversation with The Alabama Baptist from his Houston, Texas, home, Lowry joked that at the moment his real life included cleaning out the swimming pool, feeding a stray dog he adopted and talking on the phone.
“I am ADHD, and I can’t concentrate on one thing at a time!” ADHD — Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder — was no laughing matter to Lowry as a child, because he couldn’t sit still. He was labeled hyperactive. Now he would not change a thing, he said, because it actually helps with his comedy.
“Everything in comedy has truth. Not being ADHD is like asking a blind man what it would be like to have sight. It is all I have ever known,” he said.
Lowry said people love stories about people, and that is why he relates well to his audiences.
“Jesus is for everyone. We ought to let our scars be seen because we’re all sinners, and we all need to know that Jesus is real,” he said. Lowry said that so many times Christians do not encourage one another and talk about what is happening in real life.
On the flip side of his hilarious stage antics and joke-telling is an introspective Lowry, who delves into questions of the soul.
“I had questions for Jesus, but I really had so many for Mary and those questions produced the song,” he said, referring to his hit song “Mary Did You Know?” a Christmastime classic. Lowry owes his life of ministry to his mother.
“I was born two months early, and my mother gave me to the Lord,” he said. Lowry’s mother also dressed him in an American flag at age 11 to sing patriotic songs to a crowd of more than 10,000 at the National Quartet Convention. This performance landed Lowry a recording contract.
After a brief stint at Liberty University pursuing a degree in business, Lowry found more success singing southern gospel music.
His comedy came when jokes were introduced as a filler of time.
“The independent Baptists I grew up around didn’t clap, and they might say ‘Amen’ after a song,” he said. “I needed something to fill in the time and started to tell jokes. Plus, it was the only way I knew they were listening!”
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