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'Clean' comic Mark Lowry in Jonesboro Friday

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Mark Lowry, the popular Christian comedian, singer, and songwriter described himself as a "prankster" growing up.

What he used to get whippings for doing in church, he now gets paid to do at churches around the county, Lowry says.

On Friday, March 28, the "Be The Miracle Tour" will come to First Baptist Church of Jonesboro (FBCJ). The concert, which will start at 7:30 p.m., also will feature the talent of Christian pianist, Stan Whitmire, and South Carolina-based Southern gospel group, LordSong.

Lowry, who prefers the term "wordsmith" to comedian, started signing in the Baptist church at an early age in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He eventually turned to comedy as another avenue to reach people.

"All I really care about is if they are listening," says Lowry. "I feel like music and comedy are all tools to spread the word of God ... to let people know that God is crazy about us."

Lowry, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a third-grader, used it to his advantage in his shows, he says.

"I've never been anybody else ... so I don't find it a problem at all," says Lowry. "It's great for what I do, because I do so many things. It also makes the concert interesting, because nobody is up there long enough for me to get bored."

Lowry, who has spent the past 25 years on the road full-time, has recorded six comedy and music videos, and has been featured on more than 60 of the popular Gaither Homecoming Videos. He says he usually draws from his personal experiences -- some of which have been traumatic -- for comedic inspiration from a Christian perspective.

"On the good days, I don't learn much, because I don't pay much attention," he says. He recalls having surgery to remove two benign tumors, being involved in separate motorcycle and van wrecks, and having a dysfunctional childhood due to other peoples' misunderstandings about his ADHD.

"I do get great stories out of those days, and sometimes, they turn out to be very funny," he says. "Comedy, if its clean, it can bring together all those demographics that music cannot."

Wes Agnew, business administrator at FBCJ, said this is the second time the church has hosted Lowry. The last time was around the year 2000, he said.

"He's probably one of the top Christian comedians," said Agnew. "It's just good, clean, family humor. Anybody can feel comfortable ... bringing their children."

Tickets for the performance can be purchased online at www.premierproductions.com, or www.marklowry.com, or by calling (770) 471-2073.