Post-Traumatic God

How the Church Cares for People Who Have Been to Hell and Back

David W. Peters

Sep/2016, 160 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819233035



• Our churches include, and sometimes exclude, those with traumatic war or other experiences.
• The church has provided healing and reconciliation to trauma survivors since its origin as a post-traumatic community.

After traumatic events, many (especially young people) turn away from the Church; Post-Traumatic God presents a path home, providing a way back to a God who can be trusted, loved, and worshipped.

Today, the church is sometimes viewed (even from within) as a place apart, which may create a barrier of understanding for those who have experienced trauma. Post-Traumatic God grew out of Peters' own experience as a chaplain in Iraq and later as an Episcopal priest, and from his subsequent work with an organization he founded, the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship, which helped him identify the need for this quite-different book to bridge that gap. In it, Peters explores three related themes: history (the early church itself was a post-traumatic community); theology (especially building on Tillich's World War I experiences and the theology he subsequently developed); and ecclesiology (how church can offer community to trauma survivors). Post-Traumatic God equips the Church to heal the unseen wounds of the soul.

Audience: Clergy, veterans' groups, pastoral care professionals and providers, congregational groups in areas with significant military affiliations.

Read an excerpt

DAVID W. PETERS enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after his high school graduation. Following his service, he attended seminary and worked as a youth minister. Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he was commissioned as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. He served as a battalion chaplain and was deployed to Iraq in 2006. After Iraq he served as a chaplain clinician at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He founded the Episcopal Veterans’ Fellowship in the Diocese of Texas and is currently serving as assistant rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Austin. His first book, Death Letter: God, Sex, and War, is being developed as a motion picture. He is the father of three sons and is married to the lovely Sarah Bancroft. See more of his work at

“The post-traumatic God is an earthy God, one who knows suffering and is with those who suffer. David Peters shows us, through his journey of reconciliation, how understanding God in new ways—finding and sharing the God who is love—can help us all overcome the shattering effects of war.”
—Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution

"Post-Traumatic God is an encouraging work and an exhortation to action at a time when more secular resources appear to be failing our vaterans.  Peters lays the groundwork for ways the church not only can minister to veterans who have experienced the trauma of war but also to car for other victims of violence such as abuse."—Christine Havens, Episcopal Journal

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  • Ecclesiolgy
  • Theology
  • Healing
  • Reconciliation
  • History

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