I was very shaken today by a conversation I've been having online that's become polarized between evangelicals and persons in the broadly catholic tradition. Some of us in the latter category were sharing our negative, indeed hurtful experiences being judged, proselytized and verbally bullied by culturally aggressive evangelicals and fundamentalists. This didn't go over very well, to put it mildly, and in the course of things someone whom I consider a friend "went off on" me, somehow interpreting my characterizations of some evangelicals/fundamentalists as a criticism of her.
The sad thing is...all I, and I think the other catholic folks, in the discussion wanted, was a simple validation of our experience. Instead, the wagons circled on both sides, and now it's a real mess.
We have such different theological frameworks, and such different vocabularies -- even different definitions for the same terms -- that I wonder how we can ever have conversations that lead to mutual understanding instead of mutual alienation. Maybe the most ecumenical dialogue we can manage is while passing the sandbags or spooning food on plates in a soup kitchen or engaging in other "no preaching, no praying" endeavors.