How might Christians better respond to the Rio’s of the world?

by Todd Hunter

October 23, 2012

I have a soft spot for athletes, and I remember meeting and liking Rio. She was open and honest, while being kind and humble.

Rio shifted from being what she calls “a strong Christian” to being “a gay woman” who retains a strong moral conscience regarding most Christian ethics, but does not feel at all guilty about being attracted to women.

Her story took place at my friend Rick Warren’s church: Saddleback. But it could have happened at mine. There are Rio’s and Ricks in most every church in America. This is why we need to find a way to be in redemptive conversations with those among us who no longer feel compelled to follow historic Christian views on human sexuality.

I say human sexuality, because being gay is only the most public issue right now. It won’t be long before our bi-sexual family and friends want marriage to include three of them. Once that happens I can see a renewed push for (maybe religious forms of?) polygamy. Similar issues will arise about transgendered people. There is currently an impulse among some to lower the age of sexual consent to that of physical capacity—if he or she can, they should be allowed. We could go on in this vein. And, importantly, I am not blaming the gay community for this—no slippery slope theory here. Human affairs are a lot more complex than that.

So then, how do we engage with the Ron’s and Rio’s in our spheres of relationship? Let’s begin with The Golden Rule—to only do or not do the things we would want done, or not done to us. Sound like sappy advice? Take it up with Jesus. I hold Jesus to be stunningly brilliant and wise, not religiously sentimental. Thinking of Jesus again, how can we get a little more “Zacchaeus, let’s go have dinner” in us and a little less of the Pharisee, who at prayer said: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ (Luke 18.11 MSG)

What might you say at a dinner with an outsider?

How might your prayers change to include the Rio’s of our lives?




Comment by susi.

The answer is so obvious that it causes me to doubt the leadership abilities of evangelical Christianity. The dismissal of the Sacraments and, therefore, the generations who no longer understand them, is at the heart. Evangelical Christianity equates secular “marriage” with the Sacrament of Marriage, as defined and found ONLY in and by the Church. ANY sexual activity (regardless of orientation) outside of the SACRAMENT of Marriage is wrong in the eyes of the Church. It’s quite a simple notion. But, no. Instead, they have tossed out the Sacraments and begin to operate within the secular definitions and…this is the mess that evangelicals have placed upon themselves as a result. Pure confusion. They further cause problems by following secularism and first identifying the sexual orientation of the person prior to identifying people as being Christian. “Gay Christian” How ’bout NOT focusing on sexuality in a manner similar to secular society? How about remembering that the Church is supposed to be the Hospital of Christ, The Great Physician? Evangelical Christianity has attempted to follow “new rules,” new “programs” thought up by the latest books and is suffering as a result. You simply cannot improve upon the Apostles and the Church which they founded and which still exists as the second largest Christian Church in the world, the unchanged Orthodox Church. Personally, I’d suggest a study of Church history…that didn’t begin 500 years ago. If your resources don’t include the Orthodox Church, your resources are gravely flawed. After 50 years in the evangelical realm, I’m telling you…it simply doesn’t add up and society sees that. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and come home to the historic Church…the Orthodox Church.


Comment by WFKish.

As I heard said, “We need to be merciless with ideas, but merciful with people. There are two primary things to consider here at the onset. First of all, the Church is the body of Christ. This is made up of born again, regenerate people, followers of Christ, Christians. Those who are not this, they may visit the fellowship or have communication with, but they are not a part of the Church. We are not to judge them. We are to love and reach out and minister to them. However, if one is a member of the Church, again one who is born again, regenerate, followers of Christ, these we are to judge as did Paul. That said, there is a way to accomplish this that is clearly stated in Scripture. This includes much prayer and humility, but in the end, if unrepentant, they are to be put out. This of course does not simply apply to homosexual or sexual sin.

The Church gathered is not the hospital of Christ, it is the place of worship and edification. We are to “go out” and minister healing and love, by proclaiming the Gospel, which is the healer of all mankind who will repent and bow down to Christ. We are not wholesale do-gooders.


Comment by WFKish.

In response specifically to Rio’s video.Something that lept out at me was the word she used over and over, “feel”. I feel this or I don’t feel this.The Scripture clearly condemns homosexuality as it does heterosexual sin. Rio struggled with her attraction to women and finally gave in. Should I also give in to my desire for women who aren’t my wife? Both are considered sin by Scripture. C.J.Mahaney said, “……thinking is the sturdy foundation for our easily misguided affections.” We all have sins that so “easily beset us”. To deal with these appropriately, we have to die, not give in. In the generations of recent history, the world around us has been slowly, but very deliberately, normalizing sin. This mindset has contaminated the visible church. God have mercy on us.


Comment by arlean.

WFKish is correct. How we feel has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Demon influence can affect our feelings. Obedience is the requirement. There is no such thing as a practicing homosexual “Christian.” A person can struggle with this sin, as we can struggle with any sin, as the one mentioned above, attracted to another person we have no right to. We can even fall momentarily, but if we are born again we will not stay there.

However, it is true that Jesus loved the sinner, though he cut no slack on the sin. Even as he saved the woman taken in adultery from stoning, he said “Go and sin no more.”


Comment by dingl ershil.

unnatural !


Comment by LHCB.


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