Garbage Theology

What if you looked out your window and saw Jesus going through your trash can?

Would that surprise you?



The greatest illusion of our time comes in the form of waste. From landfills, to micro-trash, to invisible emissions, to imperceivable pollutants, to the factories and shores we never see … it’s all hidden away from our sight. However, the harmful effects of this global wastefulness reaches far and wide. It’s touching the lives of everyone you love, every place you’ve been, and every single thing you can imagine.

So, what if God is actually very interested in your waste?

What if your faith requires a greater awareness about the things you eat, buy, and throw away?

Could it be that your salvation is tied to all of God’s creation and that you have the opportunity to join God’s work of restoration?

While addressing the environmental challenges of our time, Garbage Theology seeks to connect our Biblical call to keep and serve creation with how we live our lives today. Through personal stories extracted from years of working in the trash and recycling industry while pastoring a local church, author Caleb Cray Haynes introduces and examines a theology of waste through the lens of Scripture and our story as the people of God in the context of our current global waste emergency.

Caleb’s passion, experiences, and hope are compelling. Garbage Theology is a practical tool both for those who want to learn where and how to begin the journey and those who wish to deepen their understanding of the subject. It is a compelling reminder that participation in the life and mission of God is holistic; it includes striving to steward well God’s creation.

Dr. Filimão M. Chambo

General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene

If you intend to live in ease and comfort, you won’t read this book. But if you love your neighbor, and are willing to imagine what that looks like in practice, you will open yourself to new ways of thinking about trash, consumption, and simplicity. This book messed with my ease and I predict it might do the same for you.

Dan Boone

President, Trevecca Nazarene University

Garbage Theology is anything but! Full of Scriptural insights and practical applications, Garbage Theology is a must-read for anyone concerned about God’s glorious creation and the health of future generations. Told from an unusual (if not unique!) perspective of a clergy-garbage collector, Pastor Haynes makes a convicting case for focusing less on stuff and more on treasures that will never rust, ruin, or rot.

Matthew Sleeth, M.D.

Executive Director of Blessed Earth

Caleb Cray Haynes

Caleb Cray Haynes

Caleb Cray Haynes grew up in the hills of rural Tennessee where the love of God’s creation grew deep roots in his early life and experience. Following a call into ministry he attended Trevecca Nazarene University and received a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy. Afterward, Caleb served as a volunteer Nazarene missionary through Mission Corp in Mainz, Germany, aiding in planting the church Kirche in Aktion. In 2009, Caleb and his wife, Emily, planted Kaleo Nashville Church of the Nazarene in Tennessee, where both still serve as co-lead pastors. Caleb was ordained as an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 2013. Caleb and Emily have two beautiful girls, Story and Daily.

Caleb has co-vocationally operated Earthtone Reconstruction and Recycling since 2013, working to reduce as much waste as possible from landfills by recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming items for creative use. In 2019, he co-founded Nazarenes for Creation Care, a grassroots organization designed to equip the church for engaging in our call to “serve and keep” creation. Following this, he successfully organized the first creation care summit gathering of over 100 diverse U.S. Nazarenes to discuss matters of creation care in October of that year. He is now a member of Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light and is among the first group of 12 individuals nationally to become Partners with the Evangelical Environmental Network. Caleb has completed many trainings and classes on issues of faith and ecology and has himself coordinated and facilitated trainings around the issues of creation justice in the church locally and regionally. He enjoys writing and speaking on these issues frequently!