Plundered: The Tangled Roots of Racial and Environmental Injustice, By David W. Swanson


The Tangled Roots of Racial and Environmental Injustice

by David W. Swanson

  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: October 08, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0774
  • ISBN: 9781514007747

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Two of the world's greatest crises, systemic racism and environmental destruction, share the same origin story. The two are rooted in economic forces that exploit and oppress both people and land.

Pastor David Swanson shows how we have failed our God-given duty as caretakers of creation and how that failure has resulted in the exploitation of people and the extraction of natural resources. Racial and ecological injustice share the same root cause—greed—that turns people and the natural world into commodities that are only valued for their utility. Yet Christians have the capacity to live in a way that nurtures racial and environmental justice simultaneously, honoring people and places in dynamic relationship with our Creator God. Swanson shows how we can become communities of caretakers, the way to restore our relationship with creation and each other, and the holistic justice that can result.

"The West has segmented life into small compartments to the point where few people actually live a whole existence. In Plundered, David Swanson presents us with all the right ingredients: humanity's purpose and our relationship with creation, justice, race, economics, sabbath, and virtue. This book was made to put us back together again and show us how to understand life the way it was meant to be."

Randy Woodley, co-sustainer at Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice and author of Indigenous Theology and the Western Worldview

"Drawing from ancient pastoral wisdom and prophetic lived experience, Swanson shows how racial and ecological injustice are intertwined symptoms of the same pervasive disease, and how God's people can live out their calling as caretaking communities of healing and restoration in the world today. Honest, insightful, and inspiring."

Ben Lowe, executive director of A Rocha USA and author of Doing Good Without Giving Up

"This profoundly relevant book offers us a new way forward as participants in a regenerative movement to build a world where all forms of life are respected. David Swanson shows us how racism and other evils, including the degradation of the Earth, are deeply interrelated. No one ethnic, racial, or national group has all the answers, but everyone can contribute to the Earth's healing. So, for all who long for reconciliation to become a reality, I highly recommend this book!"

Brenda Salter McNeil, author of Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now and Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice

"David Swanson is a wise guide—a needed voice in a fraught world. Plundered is a gift to the church, a compelling blend of penetrating insight and expansive vision for the life of the church in the world. Swanson's theological imagination draws us into a more connected world—showing us the intertwined injustices of ecological and racial violence. This is the kind of thinking we need as we move toward a future of unprecedented challenge. The best books help us see the striking similarities between being human and being Christian. Plundered invites us into deeper ways of being both."

Adam L. Gustine, author of Becoming a Just Church: Cultivating Communities of God's Shalom and coauthor of Ecosystems of Jubilee: Economic Ethics for the Neighborhood


Introduction to Part One: Tangled Roots
1. The Gift of Creation
2. Priestly Caretakers
3. Exploitation and Extraction
4. Severed from Place
5. Caretaking in the Anthropocene
6. Creator and Re-Creator

Introduction to Part Two: Becoming Naturalized
7. Nurturing Belonging
8. Nurturing Sabbath
9. Nurturing Virtue
Conclusion: Better Than Utopia

Questions for Reflection and Discussion


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David W. Swanson

David is an author and the founding pastor of New Community Covenant Church who lives with his family on the South Side of Chicago. He is the founder and CEO of New Community Outreach, a non-profit organization dedicated to healing community trauma through restorative practices.