Exploding Brains

Alan Jones, in his book Reimagining Christianity, shares the old story about two frogs. He calls them Bill and Ted. Ted lived by the ocean, Bill lived in a well. When Ted tried to explain the vastness and beauty of the ocean, Bill was impressed, but couldn’t get his brain around it, “You mean it’s so enormous that it’s half as big as this well?” Ted tried and tried to covey the hugeness of the ocean, but Bill, so impressed with his own little world, just couldn’t grasp it. In the end, Ted persuaded Bill to make the long journey to the ocean to see for himself, and after a series of adventures they came to a hill from which the mighty ocean could be seen. Leading Bill up to the crest, Ted finally said, “Now, open your eyes.” When Bill opened his eyes and saw the vastness of the ocean, its expansive shining presence, his head exploded in a thousand pieces.

This could be a parable for our time. I have experienced the explosion from both sides. I remember when a professor of New Testament tried to help me see the vastness of the ocean and my head exploded. I couldn’t take it; it was too much for my limited vision to grasp. I got angry with that professor and left that school; a decision I now deeply regret.

I am now that professor, not literally of course, but in my theological work as a Pastor and writer. I am trying to help Christians who stand where I once stood, who live in a well where I once lived, see the vastness of the ocean, and, as to be expected, I have on a number of occasions been showered with exploding brains. (What’s the old cliché? What goes around comes around).


  1. Thank goodness for cleansing showers - not only to get all that gray matter off ourselves but so that others can shower down as well! Since we use only a small part of our brain, it's a good thing that we have lots left over after all those explosions. Eventually we will get it all rearranged into a new configuration that causes only small eruptions.

  2. Indeed! I am looking forward to the new configuration. I wouldn't be surprised, though, that at some point we start trying to rewire things. Hopefully, we will be unable to undo the really good stuff.


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