Planning–and Chimps

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January 26, 2011

 I have been preparing my proposed preaching schedule for the 2011 – 2012 Church year.  And I have been peeking ahead to the 2012 – 2013 Church year.  And I would suggest that the Church have a two or five year schedule in place.  It is more difficult than many suppose to plan a schedule of services (or events) for a year, there are so many factors and variables involved, so it is a good idea to begin early.  It leaves time for discussing all of the differing needs and hopes.  Also, just speaking for myself, I like to begin planning early; I feel much better knowing that at least the basics are in place.

Of course, it has been said, “If you want to give God a good laugh, make plans”.

Still, I find my life goes much more smoothly when I have thought through a schedule and made plans for doing things. 

Being overly rigid about keeping to plans is another issue; I believe in a certain amount of flexibility. 

Is it the ability to make plans that distinguishes humans from other animals? 

When I was a child, it was tool making that “defined” human beings; but now we know that other creatures also use tools.  And a while back I believe it was the planning aspect that was used as a distinguishing mark, though I do not believe that was ever really the case.  Pack animals that hunt do planning, however short term that may be.  They plan and they communicate those plans to others in the pack.

  More recently, it was discovered that there are chimpanzees who will make a tool (a chewed and hooked bit of stick for capturing termites) and will carry it with them to a location where a termite mound exists; clear premeditation.

(Note that I used the pronoun “who” when speaking of the chimpanzees. My spell check doesn’t like that fact—it wants me to say “that—but I am leaving “who” in place.  But that a topic is for another column.) 

To those who ask, “How can David possibly expect to plan two years ahead” I say, “C’mon, even a chimp can do that!”.