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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 26, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 26, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Controversial Comic Artist Draws Genesis
  • Church Growth in China Too Fast to Keep Up With
  • Millions Affected by India Flooding
  • North Korean Defectors to Testify of Torture

Controversial Comic Artist Draws Genesis

Religion News Service reports that The Book of Genesis may be a sacred text to many, but its grittier content will also be displayed in a new book by a comic artist. "(It's about) ruling elites victimizing people in sadistic ways, which is human beings at their nastiest," R. Crumb said at a press conference in Paris unveiling his new book. In Crumb's new "The Book of Genesis Illustrated," the underground comic hero illustrates all 50 chapters of Genesis, relying both on literary and religion scholar Robert Alter's translation and the King James Version of the Bible. Crumb, who is openly agnostic, illustrated the good with the explicit, prompting criticism from several groups.  "If people of faith say what I've done is blasphemous or profane, I'd shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I just illustrated what is there,"' Crumb told USA Today. Crumb has said taking the Bible literally is "completely insane and crazy."

Church Growth in China Too Fast to Keep Up With

The Christian Post reports that the church is China is growing tremendously - a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless for pastors. A massive shortage of trained pastors has led nearly 150,000 lay leaders to step up and pastor local churches. The lack of theological education can - and has already - led to the spread of biblically inaccurate beliefs. The Rev. Gao Feng, president of the government-approved China Christian Council, said one pastor proclaimed Jesus had already returned as a young woman. Gao reports that in his home province there is only one trained pastor for 40,000 Christians. "One of the challenges is that we need to train more pastors," he said. The China Christian Council is the only government-approved umbrella organization for Protestant churches in China.

Millions Affected by India Flooding

Mission News Network reports that massive flooding in India has claimed at least 300 lives and displaced millions of people in Andrhra Pradesh and Karnataka states. "An estimated 10 million people are displaced," said Gospel for Asia Vice President Daniel Punos. "Over two million homes are completely destroyed. And the latest figure is over 400 villages were completely washed away." Although floodwaters are receding, Punos said thousands of Dalits, or untouchables, have lost their livelihood. "These people have lost all their livestock, lost their farms, lost their businesses. There is nothing left for them," he said. "They're the ones who are way out in the boonies. All the relief and the aid gets dumped into the cities, or where the news agencies can actually take pictures and show what they are doing. The people who are hit the worst are the people who are in the villages a couple of hours away."

North Korean Defectors to Testify of Torture

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that two North Korean defectors will testify before Parliament about their torture before escaping the country. The Nov. 3 testimony from former prisoners Guang-il Jung, 46, and Lee Ok Suk, 53, will happen just one month before North Korea's human rights record is scrutinized for the first time by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Representatives of Kim Jong-Il's regime will face scrutiny at the UN under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). North Korea has denied the existence of any human rights abuses. While recent evidence suggests the use of torture may have diminished, few doubt that North Korea still has one of the worst human rights record worldwide, operates a regime of harsh repression and control, and rules a country struggling under meager food availability.