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Q&A: ‘Heavy Burdens’ Author Bridget Eileen Rivera Says the Church Must Be Safe for All LGBTQ Christians

Faithfully Magazine recently spoke with Bridget Eileen Rivera, blogger of the popular website, Meditations of a Traveling Nun. Rivera is also author of Heavy Burdens: Seven Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church.

In Heavy Burdens, Rivera examines how Christian faith communities alienate and condemn LGBTQ people, highlights the pain of LGBTQ Christians, and outlines a path for churches to develop a better approach.

Associate Editor Timothy Isaiah Cho spoke with Rivera about the themes explored in her book. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Can you tell me a bit about your background and your work?

I was raised in a Christian home, conservative Evangelical. I was part of the homeschool Evangelical movement. And I went to a very conservative college for homeschool graduates called Patrick Henry College. And I guess that’s kind of very central to what has shaped me as a person. I’m still a Christian to this day. I’m still very thankful for my conservative Evangelical upbringing. I feel like it provided me a lot of foundations for life and everything.

Today, I am getting my Ph.D. in sociology and I do a lot of LGBTQ advocacy. And a big part of that right now is that I have a book coming out called Heavy Burdens and that book is about the experiences of discrimination in the church that LGBTQ people have. And I think it’s a very important topic right now, especially as I think that these issues are reaching a point where churches can’t ignore them anymore. So I’m really hoping that this book can be a part of making the church a healthier place for queer people.

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Timothy I. Cho
Timothy I. Cho
Timothy Isaiah Cho is Associate Editor at Faithfully Magazine. Timothy’s bylines have appeared in Religion News Service and Reformed Margins, and he has been interviewed for several podcasts including Truth’s Table and Gravity Leadership Podcast. He also runs a personal blog on Medium. He received a Master of Divinity from Westminster Seminary California and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley. Email: timothy.cho (at) faithfullymagazine.com

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