Interpreting a parable …

A reader writes:

You would probably not remember, but we have met before, when you were in Australia in 2009 (with ACOM, Black Stump and Surrender etc. etc.)
When I read Everything Must Change back in 2009 I was interested in your reading of the parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16. I have recently written a post on it on my blog, and before finishing noticed that you recently mentioned it on yours ( I went back to reread what you said in EMC and have included it in my post (
I should note at this point that, though your interpretation is highly compelling, I did not ultimately settle on it. I wondered whether you might be interested in checking out the interpretation that I have put forward.
Rather than detracting from the point you were making in EMC about the parable, I think it actually strengthens it. Perhaps you will disagree with me and will take the chance to further outline the rationale for your reading (which if true is, as I said, a compelling one). Either way this would be beneficial.
I hope this does not come across as in any way arrogant or abrupt. Thank you for your books and materials, they have been irreplaceably helpful to me and to many people I know.

Thanks for the note. No – this doesn’t seem arrogant or abrupt at all! This, to me, is one of the greatest joys of Scripture: when we can read a passage from diverse settings and perspectives and respectfully share how we interpret it. I grew up learning that there was one right interpretation for each of Jesus’ parables, and “we” of course had that right interpretation. Through the years, I’ve come to see the parables as far richer and more subversive than I previously realized, and in recent months, I’ve been struck even more by how many of Jesus’ parables defy any single simple reading. I wrote about this in Secret Message of Jesus – and see it more now than ever: the parables are intended not only to teach us something about something; they are also intended to challenge us to think in new ways, and not to stop thinking with “the seeing of the eye or the hearing of the ear.” Beneath the surface there are new layers to explore. So thanks for your contribution!