Napa quake * Foley, Brown funerals * ‘Nats Mass’: Monday’s Roundup

These are days that rattle the soul, not only the ground under Napa. But we can take a break and laugh at The Simpsons marathon

We are one shaken up country.

Sunday’s 6.0 earthquake shattered the predawn peace of Napa, Calif., injured 170 people, set homes on fire, blasted bricks off historic downtown buildings and broke uncounted barrels and bottles of wine in the region’s famous wineries.  Napa’s First United Methodist Church may lose the facade of its classic white 1917 sanctuary, not to mention that their annual church picnic, set for Sunday, was cancelled.

Sunday also was the Catholic funeral for James Foley, the journalist brutally executed by the Islamic State. In the packed Rochester, N.H., church, the bishop said Foley lived his faith by bringing forward stories of suffering “that we might open our eyes.”

And today is Michael Brown’s funeral at a St. Louis church where Rev. Al Sharpton will be among the speakers recalling the life of the 18-year-old shot by a Ferguson policeman. Three White House officials will represent President Obama. The Brown’s father has asked for a pause in the protests that riled the city for nearly two weeks. Clergy across the country have issued an interracial call for justice.

Meanwhile, countries that the U.S. has chided for human rights abuses are jabbing back at the U.S. over Brown’s death and the racial divides that trouble America.

Stepping aside

Mark Driscoll, the Seattle megachurch pastor whose first name could be “embattled” as in “embattled @pastorMark Driscoll (fill in the trouble of the day) told his Mars Hill Church congregation — with many emotional pauses and sighs — he is stepping aside until at least October while the church board investigates allegations of misconduct by him toward other pastors and staff.

RNS columnist Jonathan Merritt explains why he is “relieved but not gleeful” at Driscoll standing down from the pulpit.

Back to the barricades

The Obama administration has revised, revised, revised, revised, revised, revised, revised and on Friday, revised again, the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act regulations. It tweaked the paperwork work-around for employers who object to insurance coverage giving free birth control to workers.

Is everybody happy now? Hardly. The Catholic Bishops and the Becket Fund want exemptions for all with religious objections and no paperwork rerouting does that to their satisfaction.

God plays ball

Washington Nationals Baseball, evidently. The savvy priest at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic parish, right on the foot-traffic route to the SE Washington ball park, has hit a home run by offering a 45- minute Sunday Mass timed to catch the crowds. Folks call it the Nats Mass although he surely prays for all, right?

Gotta love those sisters

Franciscan Sister Doris, a master brewer, has been “turning water into beer at Mallersdorf, a 12th-century abbey in the Bavarian highlands, for more than 40 years.”

Vatican media strategist Greg Burke tweeted a toast to nuns:

In Francis’ name

There’s no “Pope Francis effect” for about 500 housing-hungry Buenos Aires poor who were evicted from the squatters camp they named for the social justice-minded Argentine-born pontiff.

Banning atheist-led invocations? Take a number

Officials in Greece,N.Y., the town at the center of the Supreme Court ruling that okayed sectarian prayers,  have adopted new rules that cut out the nonreligious, such as atheists and humanists, off the eligible-to-give-invocations list. Greece officials are second in line in the questionably constitutional move.  County commissioners in Brevard, Fla., county voted days earlier to ban atheists from giving invocations at county meetings.

Spiritual comfort

Religion News Service graphic by Tiffany McCallen

Religion News Service graphic by Tiffany McCallen

How does a chaplain minister to condemned Nazis? Author Tim Townsend tracked a fragment of history, tracing the spiritual choices made by the U.S. Army chaplain who served as pastor to the Nazis at Nuremberg who were tried for their Holocaust crimes. Not all repented.

Point of View

“10 things I Hate About You” actor Andrew Keegan has started his own new religion and Entertaining Faith blogger Laura Turner thinks it’s weird.

Boz Tchividjian (Rhymes with Religion) rips the three tactics sexual offenders use to discredit child victims.

Tobin Grant, at the Corner of Church and State, hits the high points of IRS rules for politics at the church pulpit.

Fatheist Chris Stedman says CNN conservative talker — and atheist — S.E. Cupp has a few things wrong about unbelievers.

Jana Riess gets the Monday Roundup’s last laugh. She’s picked out five favorite religion-themed episodes of The Simpsons to watch for during the marathon parade of shows on FX.

Your turn

Love waking up to news and a little levity? Tell us how Roundup makes your morning better.