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Stuff Luke Carey found: Staying in touch with your humanity in the digital age

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Confession: I never learned to change my car’s oil. Before we get all, “typical millennial,” some recommended perspective. I grew up in a culture filled with convenience. Since the age of sixteen, I can pay a small amount to have someone else change my oil and not worry about any of the hassle. I remember the Dewey Decimal System, but do not remember the specifics. I have not needed to use it since I was fourteen. At thirty-one I learned how to drive a stick-shift. Never had a reason to do so until my car broke down and I needed to drive my wife’s car. I don’t even bother to balance an actual checkbook. Why would I? I wrote five checks in the past two years. I don’t even know where we keep our checks. (Don’t tell my wife)

When big ideas, screens and convenience consume you, it’s easy to lose touch with part of your humanity. Want to hear something crazy? Twenty minutes of cleaning is good for your mental health. How do I know this? I came across several articles that made this claim. I tried it for myself. Cleaning is now the first thing I do when feeling depressed. We live in a society where we had to rediscover that action is good for a person’s wellbeing.

In 2008, a friend shared a blog article called “Stop Hanging Out with Women and Start Dating Them.” Everyone fell in love with it. The best part of the article was its simplicity. It only detailed the benefits and the recommended steps on how to do it.

The article came from a new blog called Art of Manliness. Started by Brett and Kate McKay in 2007, AoM describes itself as “a blog dedicated to uncovering the lost art of being a man.” AoM’s genius is not its masculine focus, but it’s many “how to” articles. Their articles and podcast episodes explore many practical topics such as ‘A Man’s Guide to Dressing Casual and Sharp in His 30’s,’ ‘How to Find Direction Using the Sun and Stars’ and ‘Why Action is the Answer.’

Older readers might scoff at their common-sense topics. But common sense it not inherent. What happens when you have a generation never taught or modeled common sense? Modern culture emphasis content about ideas, people or entertainment. At twenty-eight, I had to use the Art of Manliness to learn how to tie a Windsor knot. Why? I did not even know it existed.

AoM pushes back against a culture saturated with consumption and convenience. It does so by teaching skills, practices and ideas rejected by our culture in the name of convenience. It’s easy to forget that part of growing in holiness means striving to be a better human being. We call that human formation. We must push back against the temptation for ease and convenience. If AoM has taught me anything, doing so will help us feel little bit more human.

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