#myHoneyRock: By the Light of the Fire

June 20, 2017

A good fire with good people is a good thing for the soul; many of us here at HoneyRock know this because we’ve experienced it. What you may not know is that in 1974, an anthropologist from the University of Utah, Polly Wiessner, spent 174 days with a relatively unknown African people-group and recorded, in detail, their daily and nightly conversations (check out a couple of the articles about the study here and here) to figure out how their community campfires might be contributing to their social networks.

During the day, the vast majority of conversational topics tended to revolve around issues of work and things that were happening in the community. Then, as the sun fell and the people put down their daily labor, something remarkable happened: they would gather around a fire and begin telling stories.

Think about the appetite of the children’s imagination as they heard of their heritage and tales of their ancestors. Amazingly, 81% of their nightly conversation around the fire was dedicated to stories and imaginative retellings. Wiessner’s study affirms that there’s something that just draws us to the shared experience of storytelling.

The campfire and the storytelling shared around it are unsung centerpieces in the transformation that happens at HoneyRock. Whether it’s s’mores with Family Camp or , or the lifeblood of a voyage into the wilderness with any of our camper programs, for whatever reason, it seems like our awareness of the presence of God is finely tuned in the crackle and pop and hiss of a well-made flame.

So we eagerly anticipate all of the things that will happen this summer by the light of the fire. We look forward to psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. “Kumbaya” may be considered a relic of a bygone age, but “Let Us Adore” will leap from the mouths of campers and staff alike, as they gather together to tell their own stories.

How have the fires you’ve sat around, whether at HoneyRock or away affected your walk with God and community?