Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome

“Hilarious, courageous, provocative, profoundReba 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

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 Eve

 “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 bestselling author of I Regret Nothing

 “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




 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 interrogated 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.