An article in Theology Today.
“The Parable of the Shrewd Manager” in Luke 16 illuminates some important features of Asian American life. Like the parable’s central character, Asian Americans live under a set of cultural expectations where success is achieved by accepting terms set by others. In America, those terms are often defined racially, where access gets indexed to one’s ethnicity, or to perceptions of one’s ethnicity. The terms can be of great benefit and can come at great cost, as was the case for managers in Jesus’ day. Understanding Asian American life requires the recognition of both sides of this dynamic. This article first examines the parable and then draws out its relevance for Asian American and Asian American Christian life, concluding with some thoughts on the relative status of normative judgment in the context of racialization.