21 August 2015

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: A Memoir of Humor and Healing by Reba Riley

Reba Riley's twenty-ninth birthday was not a good time to undertake a spiritual quest, but when chronic illness prompted her to focus on one thing she could fix – her whopping case of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome – she undertook a challenge: visit thirty religions before her thirtieth birthday. This was transformation by spiritual shock therapy. Reba would find peace and healing… if the search didn't kill her first.

During her spiritual sojourn without leaving home, Reba: danced the disco in a Buddhist temple; went to church in virtual reality, a movie theater, a drive-in bar, and a basement; was interrogated about her sex life by Amish grandmothers; got audited by Scientologists, mobbed by NPR junkies, and killed (almost); fasted for thirty days without food – or wine, dammit!; washed her lady parts in a mosque bathroom; 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; discovered she didn't have to choose religion to choose God… or good. For everyone who has ever needed healing of body or soul, this poignant, funny memoir reminds us all that transformation is possible, brokenness can be beautiful, and sometimes we have to get lost to get found.

Humorous memoir Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome recounts the year in Reba Riley’s life when she challenges herself with thirty different spiritual experiences. Her childhood beliefs of Christianity left her disillusioned with what she termed “Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome,” so she embarks on this challenge hesitantly hoping for peace and healing. While I didn’t necessarily agree with all the conclusions she draws from her various experiences, I did enjoying reading Riley’s memoir and seeing her willingness to intentionally wrestle with her past beliefs and doubts. Fans of spiritual memoirs will not want to miss Reba Riley’s Post Traumatic Church Syndrome.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley, I received a copy of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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