Moorland Group:Altarnon, Davidstow, Laneast and St Clether


    A very warm Welcome to the website of 


    of parishes

    situated on the

     northeastern edge of Bodmin Moor

    in Cornwall









    Parish Priest: Reverend Deryn Roberts

    01566 880081






    Rectory Ramblings


    I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” - Alan Greenspan KBE, a retired American economist.

    Communication is an amazing gift, used to one degree or another by all members of the animal kingdom, from the tiniest insect to the biggest mammal, whether they inhabit land, air or water.

    There is a vast, rich and varied range of methods used to communicate between members of the same species. We humans are no exception. Most of our communication, about ninety-three percent, is through non-verbal, subconscious, body language – facial expression, posture, eye-contact (or none) – as well as other, more subtle ways – the tone of our voice, hand signals, gestures.

    Yet we pride ourselves on our use of that mere seven percent which is verbal, i.e. language – that sophisticated combination of sounds we call words, which differs from country to country and within different regions of countries.

    We know that communication over the airwaves – radio, television, mobile phones, etc. – relies on a transmitter at one end and a receiver at the other. If either is missing, or develops a fault, the message is either lost or becomes so corrupted it’s impossible to understand, and makes no sense at all.

    The same applies to human, verbal communication – except that both “transmitters” and “receivers” are the product of a whole host of particular individual factors such as life experience, age, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, current emotional status, etc., etc. So the speaker – as in my opening quotation – thinks they are saying one thing, but the listener(s) may hear something completely different.

    Take the game of ‘Chinese Whispers’, for example. There’s a story, possibly apocryphal, of an army message (in the days before radio communication) which started out as “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance”, but by the time it arrived at HQ it had become “Send three-and-four-pence, we’re going to a dance”.

    The big disadvantage of words, of course, is that they only have the meanings people give them. So, if the people with whom you’re communicating have a definition in their minds that is different from your definition or the one in the dictionary, misunderstanding and confusion are highly likely.

    Jesus was a communicator par excellence, second to none. He had the gift of knowing exactly where his audience was coming from, whether Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor, master or slave, approved by society or rejected and outcast. He could speak clearly and directly into their individual situations and circumstances or, if he chose, be deliberately obscure, so that they were forced to question and to think about the things he was saying and teaching.

    We, on the other hand, are not quite as gifted, so we need to be careful of what we say and how we say it – but not be surprised if our hearer(s) understand something completely different to what we really meant!!


    Your priest and friend,

    Revd Deryn Roberts


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