Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Father of a Teenage Girl: HELP!

Molly K. White

Molly K. White

Well, Gentle Readers, I knew this day would get here, but I am still not ready.  I have become the father of a teenaged girl!

Yes, 13 years ago, today, Katharine (Kate) E. Westmoreland-White brought forth her firstborn daughter. She couldn’t wrap her in anything because the nurses pulled her away to clean her up (she was a mirconium baby) and Kate did not get to hold her for over an hour! Molly cried until she heard me say, stupidly, “Holy Cow, I have a daughter!” At this, apparently recognizing my voice from all those conversations I had with Kate’s belly, her unfocused eyes tried to find me and she stopped crying–briefly–to seek me out.

I have been wholly hers ever since.

Molly Katharine White, named for the famous Baptist theologian who introduced (and later married) her mother and me and for her mother and grandmother, is now 13 years old.  Look out world, here she comes.

What she is, now: A child of God by both birth and new birth (She confessed Christ and was baptized last year). [For my reflections at the time of her baptism, read here and here.] The delight and exasperation of her parents.  The friend and bane of her younger sister, Miriam.  A brilliant scholar in middle school.  A passionate advocate for the earth and for peace.  A willing servant in church. 

What she will be? Who knows. I don’t hold out much hope that either of my daughters will follow either their mother into pastoral ministry or my path as a theologian/philosopher–especially since we have been unable to keep earning our living at our callings.  As of right now, part of Molly wants to work in the United Nations as an interpreter (she is good at languages). Another part would like to write fiction.  And another part would love to work with animals in one of the biological sciences.  Whatever she does, she will do well.

What she’ll always be: My little girl.

Update: How disturbing! Molly’s birthday is also the anniversary of the death (in 1918 ) of that great Baptist theologian, Walter Rauschenbusch! I hope there is no significance to the coincidence. 🙂

Other great events of Church History on Molly’s birthday include:

  • 25 July 325 Close of the Council of Nicea which gave us the Nicene Creed and condemned the heresy of Arianism.
  • 25 July 1593 King Henry IV of France, raised Protestant (Huguenot), converts to Catholicism.  It was once commonly viewed, at least by Protestants, that this was a political move, but Church historians of many different persuasions are now convinced that the move was a genuine conversion of conscience.  Significantly, Henry continued to protect the religious liberty of French Protestants, promulgating the Edict of Nantes that did just that in 1598.

July 25, 2008 - Posted by | family


  1. Happy Birthday Molly!

    And congratulations Michael and Kate, for bringing her this far. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Sandalstraps | July 25, 2008

  2. Happy Birthday Molly!

    My daughter is 12. I polled my class just yesterday about slang terms being used by the youngsters that I need to be aware of…just in case.

    Comment by Howie Luvzus | July 25, 2008

  3. Congratulations on this family milestone. I’ve still got about six years to go, although Rebecca is already practicing her teen angst routine every now and then 😉

    Comment by D. P. | July 25, 2008

  4. I expect it will be intense. It was for my wife and me as we “raised” our two teenage daughters back in the ’90s.

    Through those years, my rule of thumb was “don’t worry about losing the arguments – worry about shaping the agenda.”

    I’m still too close to it all to say how it worked out.

    Comment by Berry Friesen | July 25, 2008

  5. Thanks for the good advice, Berry!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 26, 2008

  6. Would our children be allowed in even if they wanted to follow us? The church establishment has never asked my young adult children to consider whether or not they have a call. They’d stand a much better chance if they were a blank slate knowing nothing, believing nothing, standing for nothing. My children would prefer a more solid future. I keep hoping that the Episcopal Church will stop using its disproportionate number of Bishops to dominate Lambeth Conference and give Rowan Williams a chance at holding the worldwide Anglican communion together. Our best hope is working together for the UN Millennium Goals and healing the environment so there actually is a world for all of our children to grow in their faith and purpose.

    Comment by Ruth | July 27, 2008

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