Weber further denounced the play for suggesting that Christian counselors devoted to keeping families intact are preferable to secular therapists, who might encourage you to "follow your bliss" out of a trying marriage instead of making a lifelong commitment before the altar of God. On a Web site of Fringe followers, an amateur reviewer disagreed with the Times. A woman who politically correctly emphasized she was more "spiritual" than "religious" and worried the play would be "preachy" nonetheless found "a lovely crescendo of a play that is both thoughtful and inspirational."
Predictably, Weber preferred another drama, "Acts of Contrition," billed as revealing "the wickedness that pervades today's Catholic Church." He found it a "much better, much more realistic play" when religion is raked over the coals. "To those who object to my favoring the astringent view of the church over the saccharine, please hold the indignant e-mail messages and letters," he declared. "I simply prefer theater that probes the complexities of conflict to theater that pretends they don't exist."
That is misleading. The divide between the Webers and the Bruners of this world is not between complexity and simplicity, but between sincerity and irony. Even on a dead-serious subject -- the unconscionable shuffling of soul-killing, sex-abusing priests from parish to parish -- the jaded commissar sees only irony, of a church that foolishly reveres celibacy and gets sexual abuse as a cosmic joke.
So let's cheer for the Bruners, who are bringing a counter-cultural Christian message to a very hard-hearted off-off-Broadway world. I haven't seen their work, but it has already offered the world great instruction. It's shown how a straightforward religious message can send the self-consciously hip artistic evaluators, who think they are tolerant of everything, screaming into the streets.