Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome (Hardcover)

A Memoir of Humor and Healing

By Reba Riley

Howard Books, 9781501124037, 368pp.

Publication Date: August 18, 2015

List Price: 24.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


An important inspirational debut, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is much more than a memoir about reclaiming faith and overcoming chronic illness. Written with humor and personality, it tackles the universal struggle to heal what life has broken. This is a book for questioners, doubters, misfits, and seekers of all faiths; for the spiritual, the religious, and the curious.

Reba Riley’s twenty-ninth year was a terrible time to undertake a spiritual quest. But when untreatable chronic illness forced her to her metaphorical (and physical) derriere on her birthday, Reba realized that even if she couldn’t fix her body, she might be able to heal her injured spirit. And so began a yearlong journey to recover from her whopping case of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome by visiting thirty religions before her thirtieth birthday. During her spiritual sojourn, Reba:

-Was interrogate by Amish grandmothers about her sex life
-Danced the disco in a Buddhist temple
-Went to church in virtual reality, a movie theater, a drive-in bar, and a basement
-Fasted for thirty days without food—or wine
-Washed her lady parts in a mosque bathroom
-Was audited by Scientologists
-Learned to meditate with an urban monk, sucked mud in a sweat lodge with a suburban shaman, and snuck into Yom Kippur with a fake grandpa in tow
-Discovered she didn’t have to choose religion to choose God—or good

For anyone who has ever longed for transformation of body, mind, or soul, but didn’t know where to start, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome reminds us that sometimes we have to get lost to get found.

About the Author

Reba Riley is an author, speaker, former Evangelical Poster Child, and lover of all things sparkly. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she plans to write more books...once she recovers from Post-Traumatic Memoir Syndrome. She blogs about spiritual health and healing for

Praise For Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: A Memoir of Humor and Healing

"Hilarious, courageous, provocative, profound ... Reba Riley brings the light for seekers of all paths, reminding us that every journey of transformation begins exactly where we are. If the 'Pray' in Eat, Pray, Love had a gutsy, wise, funny little sister who'd never been to India, it would be Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome."
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things

"Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, whether you pay heed to a savior or a spirit animal, you should read this moving, funny, thoughtful book. Reba Riley has traveled the unlikely mystic's path and come back with an enormously entertaining, immensely hopeful report."
— A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and My Life as an Experiment

"PTCS is a brilliant, emotional and audacious rampage through religious sensibility, an exploration I recommend without hesitation. Enjoy!"
— Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack and Cross Roads

"Riley's debut gently offers...a powerful love that is greater than any single religious expression."

"Reba Riley is a natural-born storyteller and writer who I expect to be reading for many years to come."
— Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker at

“If your soul has ever doubted, if your feet have ever lost their way, if your halo's always just a little askew, or if your heart has been wounded by a faith community, Reba Riley's humorous, honest memoir about exploring the ‘Godiverse’ is just the thing for you.”
— Sarah Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls

"Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is real. Been there done that. If you have been there too, this book is going to let you know you are not alone. Prepare to be encouraged to leave outright abuse of spiritual power and dogma of the kind that kills the soul. Prepare to survive. Courageous and wonderful, Reba Riley to the rescue!"
— Frank Schaeffer, author of Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God

“Riley’s book is so compelling; beautifully written, exceedingly funny, and refreshingly honest. As she described her journey of spiritual and physical healing, I rooted for her with every page. Riley’s story is also compelling because it is our story, our journey. We can identify with her spiritual pain, her questions, her prejudices, her fears. Her experience proves that if we are willing to open ourselves up and listen, we too can find God everywhere and know the Love that is for us all. It is a book of profound hope.”
— Kristen Vincent, author of A Bead and a Prayer

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is a literary and philosophical triumph. Reba Riley reveals the strength of spirit through the vulnerability of flesh with tears, laughter and soul-stirring moments of profound revelation. Her first book—certainly not her last—is so much more than a memoir about faith; it’s a celebration of all that defines the human condition.”
— Christian Piatt, author of postChristian and Pregmancy

“Written with beckoning eloquence and humor, Reba Riley describes an amazing interfaith journey through the depth of her broken humanity in a quest for healing and the face of God. Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is a most valuable and inspirational guide to those on a path toward enlightenment, and especially to those seeking healing from spiritual abuse. It should be on the shelves of every counseling center and divinity school.”
— Franklyn Schaefer, author of Defrocked and a United Methodist minister

"Moments of laughing and tears. It provided much needed closure for me in many ways. I love Reba Riley and her heart and work. I'm honored to be her teacher and also, through her book, her student. (Deep bow of respect.) Namaste."
— Bushi Yamato Damashii, Roshi/Zen monk at Daishin Buddhist Temple & Mindfulness Center, Thomasville, NC

"Honest, witty, and reflective... Reba is real when it comes to 'religion' and what it takes to unpack that word in our culture today. This is a book for anyone who has fumbled, wondered, fallen away, or wanted something bigger to hold them close at night. She doesn't claim to have all the answers, but Reba, undoubtedly, is asking all the right questions."
— Hannah Brencher, author of If You Find This Letter

"Whether you're spiritual, religious, or neither, Reba Riley's grace, wit, charm, and profound insight will make you laugh and think. She is an author to watch!"
— Jen Lancaster, New York Times best-selling author of I Regret Nothing

"In this humorous, self-deprecating memoir, Riley turns pain and suffering into an (almost) fun journey of self-discovery and personal enlightenment."

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