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Baby Talk

According to our Story, when God wanted to address the human condition, a Child appeared.

Or as Luther put it, when God wants to communicate with humankind, God speaks in baby talk, language we can understand, person-to-person, word-for-spoken-word.

As it turns out, baby talk—the basic language of goo, goo, ga, ga, and cootchie, cootchie, coo—is a critical building block that connects infants with the world they have so recently entered. Words are connectors in general, of course, but Erik Erikson has pointed out that trust is developed in a child during the very first weeks of life and it all happens in those very rituals of greeting for which the words are goo, goo, ga, ga. No goo, goo, no trust, or at least a deficiency in the ability to trust, for baby talk is that language of love, and love confirms that we can trust one another and a benevolent world beyond.

So important are words to human development that one hospital even hired a woman whose job was to wander through the neonatal care unit and talk to newborns. Research has indicated that infants who are not talked to frequently during their first few months suffer stunted development and sometimes even die. Words nourish the soul and shape the ever-emerging self.

So has God spoken to us, in a Word, a Word we can understand, a Word that nourishes the soul and shapes the ever-emerging self. Like the infant just beginning to make the connection with the universe, baby talk is what we need and so baby talk is what we get. The power of love, the ability to love, the foundation of trust, the reason to hope, the wherewithal to continue along the Way—all this follows from the words that connect us to one another and the wider world on which we ultimately depend.

To the eternal question—Who he is, this Christ?—we have a profoundly simple answer:  Jesus is God, speaking in words we can understand.