If so, it's the one good thing that church ever did! No, but seriously, Thrice announced that they're going on hiatus, and they played their "farewell" show a few nights ago in California. Yesterday Ben Wener, a writer at the Orange County Register, theorized that the band's hiatus will be permanent, and the singer's involvement in Mars Hill is to blame.
An arguably more dominant influence may have come from Kensrue’s involvement with Mars Hill Church, the controversial evangelical organization, whose Santa Ana headquarters are directly in front of the Observatory. The singer-songwriter serves as worship director at the megachurch’s local chapter. He's often seen performing Sunday mornings and afternoons in this very venue, albeit in a different capacity.
From that context I want to consider chiefly this: Before Thrice had even begun this final run of farewell shows (which included two nights at House of Blues Anaheim and another sell-out at Club Nokia before these last blasts at the Observatory), Kensrue revealed on his Twitter feed that he’s already busy working on material with a new band. "Grace Alone" and more from a five-song EP, presumably aimed at the contemporary Christian music (or CCM) market, is due later this summer via Mars Hill.
That doesn’t sound like the doings of a creatively spent guy who wants to slow down and stay home. More like someone who wants a change of scenery — and who perhaps has faced some pressure from his pastor to shun a certain lifestyle. I’ll bet this much: You’ll see Kensrue, either as a solo artist or with his new group, performing at a Fishfest, like this Saturday’s tobyMac-led event in Irvine, well before you’ll see Thrice resurface.
Kensrue wouldn't be the first rockstar to quit or change direction after finding God. (Of course, it sucks that he had to find such a bullying, homophobic, misogynistic, brainwashing church that demands total control over its members in order to have that relationship.) And Kensrue is, rightfully, bummed the writer didn't talk to him. But why didn't you, Wener? You'd still have every right to call bullshit on Kensrue's involvement with the emotionally-abusive church, and had you actually spoken to the person you were judging, your unease with his involvement would read less like a bitter witch hunt and more like valid concern. I'd actually be curious to hear how Kensrue could support such a hateful church when there are certainly a number of gay and female Thrice fans out there who are at least partly responsible for Thice's success. Does he feel the same way about those people that church leader Mark Driscoll feels?
Hopefully Wener follows up. There's another side to hear from.
(Thanks for the tip, Alithea!)