Matthew 16:6

It was the second Sunday after the baptismal service out at the lake and she was finding it impossible to concentrate on the sermon.

It wasn’t getting better. Gallons of unsweetened Ocean Spray and a week’s worth of the over-the-counter stuff weren’t helping any. “If symptoms persist,” it said on the tube, “see your doctor.”

She thought about what it must be like to have a doctor who was “yours,” as though they were a member of the household staff, like your gardener or your nanny or your cook. Must be nice to have a doctor instead of the doctors having you — to have a doctor be someone whose help you could summon when needed, instead of someone you had to approach as a supplicant, like Esther in the court of the king.

She shifted uncomfortably in the pew. Symptoms were definitely persisting. She would have to make an appointment.

She flipped through the bulletin to find the church calendar for the week. The Prayer Warriors sidewalk vigil was scheduled for Wednesday, so she could call first thing tomorrow and schedule an appointment for Tuesday. Inconvenient to make the same trip two days in a row, but safer than risking running into anyone the day of her visit.

The rustle of pages brought her back to attention and she looked up at the screen behind the pastor to follow the reading. It was from the Gospel of Matthew:

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

She covered her mouth with her hand to hide the smile.

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  • snowmentality

    I love it.

    One fact-checking note: I’m confused about whether she has a yeast infection or a UTI. I haven’t heard of drinking cranberry juice as a home remedy for a yeast infection — only for a UTI. However, the over-the-counter treatment in a tube, and the “yeast” reference at the end, imply YI.

    Home remedies I’ve heard of for YIs include live-culture plain yogurt and a peeled clove of garlic (both applied/inserted to the affected area rather than eaten).

  • flat

    Fred what is this?

    an excerpt of your future novel, or something you want us to write our own fanfics about.

    Because I don’t know who the girl is what kind of illness she has or what the sermon is about excerpt that Jesus warned against Pharisees and sadducees.
    So can somebody help me out please?

  • Lorehead

    Well, it didn’t work, did it?

  • I’m guessing that this is Fred’s attempt to write something from the perspective of a woman who attends a church whose leadership is virulently anti-Planned Parenthood, yet herself relies on Planned Parenthood for needed healthcare.

  • Baby_Raptor

    This woman has my sympathy. Both yeast infections and UTIs *suck.*

  • Sotonohito

    It’s most likely a parable, not an excerpt from anything longer.

    The woman almost certainly has a urinary tract infection (why? Because of the cranberry juice, which is rumored to help but doesn’t really). She’s poor, so she doesn’t have a family doctor and she’s planning on going to Planned Parenthood because they help people with UTI’s.

    Thus she wants to make an appointment for Tuesday because on Wednesday she will be joining the Prayer Warrior group for their protest of Planned Parenthood.

  • flat

    Oh I see, you know in our church when somebody get sick, they ask us if we would pray for them and send postcards or mail them to let them know we are thinking about them.

  • That’s nice, but I don’t really see how it’s relevant to the fact that (1) many women in churches rely on PP for needed health care, (2) many ministers in many of those churches stand at the pulpit and loudly condemn PP as evil, and (3) points (1) and (2) effectively alienate those women from those leaders.

  • Do women also make such requests when afflicted with yeast infections? Somehow, I think not.

  • Jessica_R

    sacrcasm/ Well clearly she needs to go to another church. Because if they found out they would feel bad, and resent her for making them put a face to the people who use PP. So obviously the Christian thing for her to do is leave, so they don’t have to consider her one of Them and can go on decrying PP as an abortion factory. I mean it’s in *The Bible* people, look it up!

  • Ennid

    I think it’s kind of sweet, in an odd way, that Fred is trying to think of things from a woman’s perspective, but in the process got yeast infections and urinary tract infections mixed up.

  • P J Evans

    They might – but they’d be making the request of the women’s prayer group.

  • otrame

    Actually, it is possible to get a UTI that IS a yeast infection, which I found out once when the antibiotics didn’t help. A trip to a urologist got me an unexpected diagnosis and one pill. That’s all it took.

  • flat

    Oh I see: different church cultures.
    You know we would be suprised if somebody of our church got sick and the reverent suddenly would attack our socialised healthcare system after we have prayed for them to get better.

  • Eminnith

    Some women use cranberry juice for any problem between the waist and the knees.

  • Slash

    You know, this theoretical/non-theoretical woman could help herself and other women if she’d stop going to the church that tells her how evil Planned Parenthood is. It’s not the only church in America. There are lots of others.

    Why do women continue to support entities that actively work against them? Why? Is it stupidity? Co-dependency? Cowardice? What? I don’t get it. One of the ways you become a grownup is by not listening to stupid people. You recognize their stupidity for what it is and stop enabling it with your time and effort and money.

  • At first, I was thinking this related to bladder infections and the Bible’s many wonderful words on the subject of monthly blood. I used to get infections like clockwork and cranberry juice was my cure of choice. XD

  • Disqus, cut it the fuck out.

  • And, given the choice between a trip to a clinic and a prayer, I know which I’d be betting on for efficacy.

  • Could be worse. Once upon a time, someone then in my life didn’t recognize it as a yeast infection, and appied cornstarch to it. Which was basically giving the yeast an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they did. It wasn’t pleasant.

  • This is in reference to the new gigantic social media buttons plastered all over both the front page and the individual blog entries, by the way.

  • B

    Aside: according to another blog I read, there’s basically no good evidence that cranberry juice does anything for UTIs, although doctors often recommend it.

    So maybe it doesn’t matter whether it’s a UTI or a yeast infection, the cranberry juice isn’t helping either way. ;-)

  • The_L1985

    Slash, there are gullible adults out there. I have kin who are well-intentioned and always try to do the right thing, but aren’t too terribly bright. Those people are extremely vulnerable to con artists, because con artists are generally good enough to trick the average person, let alone the one with a faulty B.S. detector.

  • The_L1985

    Meanwhile, here in the US, we wanted a socialized healthcare system in the 50’s, then suddenly it became Evil Communism, and now socialized healthcare is extremely unlikely.

  • AnonaMiss
  • Rae

    Although if you’re uninsured, trying relatively inexpensive home remedies is going to be your first course of action.

  • It’s,..highly unlikely this would come up in any typical round of prayer events. Most women find it unbearably embarrassing/horrible to talk about outside their closest friends.

    Also, it’s really not something to bother God over. It’s kind of like a guy asking for your prayers in delivering him from his really bad jock itch and/or genital warts.

    Not only would you be more likely to clear the room than get any takers, but you’d feel a right ass if you suddenly got better and someone else dropped dead from cancer or something because God was dealing with your crotch issues.

  • Rae

    There’s another blog on Patheos, called “No Longer Quivering” that I highly, highly suggest you check out if you can’t understand why a woman might not instantly stop going to a church that preaches things that are harmful (actively or passively) to them.

    But the long and short of it is that there are many women who, for some reason or another, feel that leaving a church is going to be more detrimental to them than having to sneak off to a reproductive clinic every once in a while.

  • O.o Is that really what that article says? Currently nursing a migraine, so it all just runs together, but it seems like it’s quoting studies that say “Yes, it works” and then saying “but are we really sure?”, then links to a limited study with variables I would question and says “See, proof it’s homeopathic bullshit, case closed.”

    I, uh… some of those infections I used to get were horrific. I’d drink an entire bottle of cranberry juice in a single day and generally feel much better within 24 hours. If I didn’t get the juice, it didn’t go away (putting that to the test was deeply unpleasant). That’s anecdotal, but having tried large amounts of water, large amounts of milk, large amounts of other juices and then having consistant success with cranberry juice… I dunno. It might be a placebo effect, but if it is, I’ll take a placebo that always works over sitting on my thumbs and suffering.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Not listening to other people is kind of hard when you’re raised from birth in a religion that specifically trains you to regard people like your Pastor as a fount of truth, and the world as a giant pit of evil and lies.

  • I found myself mentally inserting as a coda, “And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

  • P J Evans

    It’s also possible that she lives in an area where most of the churches are like that, or worse.

  • P J Evans

    I put ‘’ on my list of blocked sites, and it’s improved things a little. Disqus still sucks, though. And I hate the places that assume everyone has twitter or facebook. (Also, the buttons don’t match the hover-labels!)

  • P J Evans

    My *grandmother* used cranberry juice. There are other things you can do, also.

  • Ooh. Forbid sharethis and the buttons disappear altogether, plus the extra lag on the front page seems to have cleared up. Thanks for the tip, P J!

  • Jim Roberts

    Nope. He’s in PA, and if that area’s anything like New England, cranberry juice is for anything, as said below, between the belly and the knees.

  • B

    Yes and no. I mean, I agree, but if it doesn’t actually help anything, what are you actually accomplishing except wasting money and consuming unnecessary calories?

    Cranberry juice is actually pretty expensive for a juice and tastes horrible, which is why most “100% juice” cranberry juice on the market isn’t actually pure cranberry juice — it’s cranberry juice mixed with other, very sweet, juices. (Although it’s still generally expensive for a juice, and generally the more actual cranberry juice is in it, the more expensive it actually is.)

    Also keep in mind that cranberry juice is often recommended prophylactically — I know my college roommate was told to drink a big glass every day. So that’s a big glass of a comparatively expensive, high-sugar, high-calorie beverage every day. That’s going to add up, and if it doesn’t actually work it’s all for naught. :shrug:

  • It’s pretty good if you cut it with vodka.

    Plus, alcohol is a disinfectant, so that’s got to be good for something.

  • B

    I think the conclusion of that particular entry is that there’s basically no good evidence that it does anything, there’s insufficient evidence that it doesn’t do anything, and that there’s only a biologically plausible mechanism for a small minority of UTIs.

    So we can’t say for sure that it doesn’t work, but there seems to be a distinct lack of good evidence that it does work, either. From a medical standpoint — and particularly from a science-based medicine standpoint — “Well, there isn’t good evidence that it works, and there isn’t really a plausible mechanism in most cases, but we haven’t proven it DOESN’T work, so let’s use it as a treatment” isn’t sufficient: they’re looking for evidence that a treatment does work. (I mean, I could claim that ANYTHING works to treat a particular disease, and if my standard was “Well, can you prove it DOESN’T work?” in most cases, who could argue?)

    But I’m certainly not going to tell you not to drink cranberry juice if you feel it helps. And I agree, there’s a lot to be said for a good placebo. Personally, when I’ve tried it for UTIs, it’s done jack-all. :-) I just thought it was interesting in context — I was surprised to learn it isn’t really supported by evidence, myself.

  • Yeah, me too. When I had my worst UTI and it hadn’t gone away after over a week, I went to the doctor and she recommended cranberry juice too, with the option to return for a prescription to an antibiotic. Like I said, I was having them regularly (the words “this is not my idea of monthly bleeding” were uttered), so I got acquainted with anything and everything cited as treatment, and cranberry juice worked every time, promptly, whereas anything else failed to make a dent in it.

    There might be something to it and we just haven’t studied it extensively enough to confirm what it is yet. Not all homeopathic remedies have to be snake oil. ^^;

  • That’s not “homeopathic”.

    I mean, unless by “cranberry juice” you mean “Water from the same lake that had at some point in the past had one cranberry in it, but they were sure to fish it out.”

  • I had to actually look that up to figure out what you were talking about. I had no idea that’s what homeopathy actually was. The term is misapplied to anything that isn’t medically proven nowadays…

  • Plus, if you put off going to the doctor while you try your home remedies, depending on what the illness is, it could be a lot worse and cost much more money by the time you give in and go in.

  • Not all of us can afford to visit the doctor the first time, let alone for an itching and burning sensation that might clear up in a week. Paying $5-15 for a home remedy might be a gamble, but I know a visit to the doctor is going to keep me from eating a few meals that week.

  • Off-topic, but: Ho. Ly. Crap.

    I come back six months after getting fed up with meandering conversations that I desperately tried to follow over six pages of comments while only like, one in four comments were relevant to the conversational line I was trying to follow, and then going back to do it all over again with another conversational line… and now there are threads! Blessed threads! I can finally follow a conversation topic all in one place! How far back does this go? :DDD

    (But the “random selection of words” previews instead of the “first paragraph” preview is still there. WHY.)

  • (Also I wish the default was oldest-first instead of best-first. At least it’s only one click to get there.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    There’s actually someone here who likes threads? Incredible. I wonder how much we’d have to bribe Disqus to not only bring back the option for flat comments but make it a signed-in-user-side setting as well as a blog-owner-side setting, so that Slacktivist could have flat comments like the Slacktivist commenters collectively want but you could still have threaded comments like you want.

  • I was quite specifically replying to B’s first paragraph, which included the condition “if it doesn’t actually help anything.” More generally, when it’s not absolutely certain, then yes, you could take your chances, and I’ve played rather too much of the waiting & hoping game myself, although usually without much home remedy.

  • Carstonio

    I had wanted threaded comments some time back, but now that it’s a reality, I miss the ability to instantly see the newest comments. Like Ellie, I want both options available.

  • Cathy W

    Yes! The user-side experience should be settable by the user – why do I have to read the comments the way Disqus thinks I should?
    What I’m finding is that I like threads on my first “pass” through the comments, but if there’s more than one thread I want to follow after that point it’s a lot more difficult.