Home Christian News ‘Mary Did You Know’ Writer Mark Lowry Good-Natured Over Song’s Controversy

‘Mary Did You Know’ Writer Mark Lowry Good-Natured Over Song’s Controversy

But that phrase has gotten Lowry in trouble in recent years — seen as a kind of theological mansplaining.

“Listeners have complained that, yes, Mary knew that she was going to bear the Messiah, the promised salvation of Israel, and that, therefore, the rhetorical question upon which the song rests is either redundant or condescending,” author Joy Clarkson, host of the “Speaking with Joy” podcast, wrote in a 2018 article entitled, “Yes, Mary Knew.”

That phrase has also inspired a series of sarcastic social media posts. “Mary did you know … that there’s a boy on his way to gift your newborn with a drum solo,” tweeted author and pastor Courtney Ellis. “Mary did you know we’ve been trying to reach you about your extended warranty,” tweeted Texas attorney Robert Callahan II. There’s even apparently a satire of the song, entitled “Mary Freaking Knew.”

Lowry is pretty good-natured about the criticism of the song. He’s quick to admit it has shortcomings — which he thinks are more evident to his fellow Christians who are more familiar with theology than the average person who hears the song. The last thing he wanted to do was to insult Mary or anger his fellow believers.

“I never meant for it to start a war or irritate people,” he said. “I definitely didn’t want that.”

That response fits Lowry’s character. He’s long used humor to help his fellow evangelicals lighten up, preferring laughter to a fight any day.

“We’ve portrayed to the world that we’re superhuman beings, and we’re not,” he told Religion News Service in a 1999 interview. “We’re just sinners in need of a savior.”

Still, he’s grateful for what he called the “miracle of the song.” Lowry, who has never been married, views his songs as his children. None of them, he said, has grown and had a life of their own the way “Mary Did You Know” has. Most of all, he hopes the song will point people to the story of the baby Jesus and what his arrival would mean.

“I hope the song makes people think about the baby Jesus,” he said. “I hope it sends them running to Luke 1 to find out what Mary knew.”

This article originally appeared here.

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Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications and websites. Most notably, he has served as a senior writer for Facts & Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, religion writer at The Tennessean, correspondent for RNS and contributor to OnFaith, USA Today and The Washington Post.