Dear Mr Lowly, you wrote:
I do not challenge the primacy of obedience, yet I am struck once again by the totally negative context in which the word "modern" appears.
Christians are called to live out the Gospel in the times in which they find themselves, not to live out the Gospel in idealized times and places such as Holy Byzantium and Holy Russia, however much we revere their legacy. We are here, now, by God's grace and will.
Is there nothing good to be said of modern civilisation?
I do not believe I said anything against modernity as an era, nor certainly that there is nothing good to be said of modern civilisation, or that it should be treated in an entirely negative context. And I can never be accused of arguing for a return to rosy Byzantium.
This seems to have been a comment reactionary to sentiments more broadly.
Every era has its challenges, as well as its strengths and positive offerings. It is too common, perhaps, for 'modernity' to be criticised in 'comparison' (usually flawed) with some era in the past that is idealised; this is certainly not helpful. But not all criticisms are meant in this manner -- and remember that criticism itself is not of necessity an ascription of over-all negativity. And there are
problems with modernity; and in therapeutic circumstances it is important to know what the ailments are, in order to address them.
My original comment, above, was that one of the chief problems in the modern world (no reference to any other era) is that obedience comes to be ranked another selection for the will: I can be obedient, if I wish to be. This is not a context which the Christian ought to accept, in this era or any other.