THE PAST IS A STRANGE COUNTRY -
During my final High School year, an Uncle took me to his work site at Christchurch prison, he ran a construction business. After a while, I wandered off to see "the Quarry" and a scene from "For the Term of His Natural Life", or a Soviet Gulag.
Under guards on duty in high towers, men dug rocks from the ground, loading them into wagons and pushed them along rails to conveyer belts from whence the rocks moved up to gravel crushers. It was a hive of dust and noise. In 1961, hard labour for those detained at her Majesty's pleasure meant just that.
In the same year, as a Prefect, I could belt a boy on the bottom with a gym shoe as punishment, and myself get caned when my marks for science (for which I had no aptitude) fell way below the B++ and A- of my other work. My parents protested the second, but not the first. The past is a strange country, they do things differently there.
We should no longer take such past experiences as a world to be nostalgic about and replicated. But we also need to recognise that many regulations in the Bible share the same dangers.
Scientific, social, humanitarian and medical knowledge has lifted us to a more complete appreciation of the world, our relationship to it, each other, and to God. The spirit of the Word is what remains, eternally valid, not always the black words on white paper. Bill Elderton.