Cruisin’ the Muses: Keying on healthy culture
Carson City area pastors say Nevada’s wide open culture, with legal gambling and prostitution, doesn’t change their roles a lot.“You’re dealing with people,” said Pastor Rob Jennings-Teats of First United Methodist Church. “It’s not like they’re different from one place to another.”Quizzing religious leaders about the matter changed this from a news feature to a column, the focus pointing toward building healthy communities rather than tilting in Quixotic fashion at wayward windmills.For example, Jennings-Teats did decry gambling spinoffs such as Nevada’s high rates for suicide, bankruptcy, teen pregnancy and school drop-outs. He said he neither takes on gambling nor sugar-coats it. His church has a gambling anonymous group that meets daily. Others sounded similar themes. “I don’t know that gambling, per se, or prostitution, per se, present some kind of dilemma,” said the Rev. Jeff Paul of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. But he also cited “wider and deeper issues” as offshoots — drug abuse, alcoholism, poverty.And Rev. Larry Schneider of Unity of the Sierra Church said basic goodness in people doesn’t change the fact that, on occasion, “what life brings us overshadows our goodness.” He said he remains non-judgmental. “It’s indispensable,” he said. Pastor John Wiltse of Mound House’s Bread of Life Christian Fellowship has tried to get prostitutes to services. “I’d like to get them in church, get them saved,” he said, but acknowledged that hasn’t happened.Dr. Ken Haskins Jr. of Carson City’s First Christian Church stressed help over hype because, legal or not, it’s no big deal when gambling and prostitution exist everywhere. “Wherever He puts you,” Haskins said, “you can help people and that’s what it’s all about.” There are many ways to help, such as the Carson City Circles Initiative, but recently ACTIONN came to your columnist’s attention. Acting in Community Together In Organizing Northern Nevada is a faith-based group working toward improving education and creating jobs.One approach is a health care jobs coalition aimed at expanding Northern Nevada’s pipeline to fill jobs currently going unfilled despite high unemployment.ACTIONN’s founding convention is at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at Little Flower Catholic Community in Reno, and some Carson City folks plan to attend.• John Barrette covers the arts, senior issues and health care. If you have a story or upcoming event that you want the public to know about, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 775-881-1213.