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Ajinbayo Akinsiku's heavily abridged version of the Bible, in the Japanese graphic "manga" style, was recently published in the United States, with the goal of making Jesus more "accessible" to a younger, religion-indifferent generation. Quirky, illustration-rich manga presents biblical philosophy as action scenes using contemporary dialogue, according to a February New York Times review. In one example, Akinsiku (who hopes someday to become an Anglican priest) has Noah taking census on the Ark: "That's 11,344 animals? Aargh! I've lost count again. I'm going to have to start from scratch!"

Duquesne University and Boston College recently created professional courses in financial and personnel management for churches (and Villanova University even established a special master's degree), thus recognizing that frauds by greedy priests and sexual abuse by errant clergy cannot be resolved simply by churches' demanding that their leaders behave. Lax U.S. churches have lost tens of millions of dollars to embezzlement and sexual-abuse lawsuits, but, said a Villanova official, "If (church officials) were better trained in management, a lot of problems ... could have been avoided."

Among the recent victims of internal religious strife in Malaysia was Kamariah Ali, 57, who long ago renounced Islam and started worshipping a two-story-tall "sacred teapot" she had built for her Sky Kingdom cult (emphasizing the "purity of water"). She was sentenced to jail as a failed Muslim in 2005, and the teapot destroyed, and in March 2008, another court found that she had been insufficiently rehabilitated and ordered her back to jail.

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