Dance Dance Revolution

February 9, 2008

My girlfriend Sarah and I had the opportunity to go to, not one, but two swing dancing events this past weekend. For the past month we had planned on attending “Music and Romance,” a fancy schmancy dance put on by Otterbein college. But somehow Sarah also convinced me to attend a swing dance class at the Vineyard with her the night previous. The swing dance class was actually a ‘singles outreach event’ in disguise. The majority of the attendees weren’t even single- they were middle-aged, married couples looking for something fun to do on the weekend. Needless to say, it wasn’t my idea of a hot night out on the town. But Sarah insisted we go to practice for Music and Romance. We could have practiced five nights in a row and I still wouldn’t have been ready to dance with Sarah.

You know that dancing game “Dance Dance Revolution”- the one with the pad and arrows that you stomp on? That’s not really dancing. I’m good at that. Real dancing requires actual rhythm. I can cheat in DDR and use my foot-eye coordination to stomp when the arrow enters the little box. Sarah has taken several dance classes and plays the piano (very well might I add). She has actual rhythm. I have watched the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and played the arrow stomping game-DDR. I’m a nerd that can’t really dance. Not to mention, Sarah is an avid feminist so she doesn’t take kindly to the whole “guy always leads” idea. Here is an example of a conversation between me and Sarah as we tried to learn to dance together:

Sarah: “Triple step, triple step, back step, now do the double hair comb Robby.”

Robby: “Let me lead.”

Sarah: “Okay………………now you are going to spin me.”

Robby: “(Exhale)”

Looking back on this past weekend, however, I am glad I attended the free dance lessons with Sarah. I improved a lot between Friday and Saturday night. An older lady even told me she liked my moves on the dance floor. Little did she know, I wasn’t actually leading. Sarah was the one making me look good.

Brandon, Maria, Sarah, and I at Music and Romance.

Me, Sarah, Maria, and Brandon at Music and Romance





Watch Your Mouth!

January 28, 2008

“New Coke” 

Have you ever had one of those moments where you mean to say one thing but it comes out sounding completely different? Earlier this evening I had one of those moments. My friend and I were having a conversation downstairs in the living room of our house about a Human Sexuality class he was taking this quarter at Otterbein. (One of the class requirements was that each student ask his or her parent(s) about a sexual topic they never would have discussed with them as a teenager but were comfortable discussing now. My friend had no desire to do so. I remember last year taking the sex class and having the very same conversation with my dad. I won’t go into the details of the conversation. But let me just say, it was very “enlightning.”) 

While sitting at the computer, my friend pulls up a slide show from the Human Sexuality class displaying a diagram of the male anatomy. He and I proceed to make a couple off-colored jokes about the drawings, much to the chagrin of the other people in the room. Then he seamlessly transitions from looking at pictures diagraming the male anatomy, to pictures of he and his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. Mind you, I am one of the few people in the room that can see the computer screen at this point. After pulling up a couple of pictures from a date he and his girlfriend went on a couple of years back, he looks over to me and exclaims, “These are some pictures she and I took together two years ago when we were still together.” It was a completely innocent statement to me- the only person able to see the computer screen. The pictures were cute. They both were fully clothed, laughing, and sitting outside in the grass. The other six people in the room still thought we were talking about sex and the male anatomy. I peer across the room only to see one young lady from our group horrified. “You what?” she cried. “What did you do? Are we still talking about the same thing?” We both laugh. Then quickly explain what happened. For that one moment, however, it was great to see our friends reactions as their opinions of my friend crumbled to the ground.

 Later that evening, while reading my marketing textbook, I stumbled upon a section titled “Real Marketing: Watch Your Language.” The article was devoted to listing the many marketing blunders companies had made as they attempted to transition from their domestic market to other foreign markets. I couldn’t help but laugh outloud at some of these ridiculous gaffes so I am going to share some of them with you right now. I hope you get a good laugh.

-) When Coca-Cola first marketed Coke in China in the 1920’s, it developed a group of Chinese characters that, when pronounced, sounded like the product name. Unfortunately, the characters actually translated as “bite the wax tadpole.” Now, the characters on Chinese Coke bottles translate as “happiness in the mouth.”

-) Chevy’s Nova translated into Spanish as no va- “it doesn’t go.”

-) IKEA marketed a children’s workbench in America named FARTFULL (the word means “speedy” in Swedish)- it soon discontinued the product.

-) Other product names you won’t likey see in your local Speedway: Krapp toilet paper (Denmark), Crapsy Fruit cereal (France), Poo curry poweder (Argentina), and (excuse the language) Pschitt Lemonade (France).

Advertising themes often lose-or gain- something in the translation. The Coors beer slogan “get loose with Coors” in Spanish came out as “get the runs with Coors.” Other exmaples of this include:

-) Coca Cola’s “Coke adds life” theme in Japanese translated into “Coke brings your ancestors back from the dead.” (HAHA)

-) The milk industry learned too late that its American advertising question “Got Milk?” translated in Mexico as a more provocative “Are you lactating?”

-) In Chinese, the KFC slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as “eat your fingers off.”

-) And Frank Perdue’s classic line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” took on added meaning in Spanish: “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

 That’s all for this week.

My blog is not dead…

January 15, 2008


…but my dog is. This past weekend I lost my closest, most dependable friend from the past nine years of my life, my dog Baby. On Saturday, January 12, 2008, at nine and a half years old, Baby died from what was believed to be kidney disease. She was an amazing dog. Despite being a rotwiler, she was very affectionate and protective of her family. My family would often joke that Baby was a puppy trapped in a big dog’s body. Because she thought she was a lap dog, Baby was well known for her tendency to jump on unknowing visitors’ laps. Baby will not be forgotten. She has left a legacy through both our memories and her children. Believe it or not, Baby mated with our other dog Snoopy, a dachshund, and produced a healthy litter of puppies. They were goofy looking puppies, but puppies nevertheless. She will be remembered for her playful attitude and fun loving personality

Baby was there for me through some of the most difficult times in a boy’s life. I remember the first time I met her. I was eleven years old, visiting my Pawpaw’s house down in New Orleans. She was only a puppy then. She was so playful and cuddly. Little did I know that I would be cuddling up to this dog for the next nine years of my life. Baby accompanied me through middle school, high school, and half of college. She truly was this man’s best friend. She was a big dog by breed but small in comparison to other rotwilers. She was the runt of litter. Nevertheless, she offered lots of heat on cold winter nights and security to a young, scared boy on those windy nights when the house creaked.  She had some of the most beautiful, brown eyes I have ever seen. I will hold the memory of Baby close to my heart until I die. I love you Baby.

If any of you have a special memory of Baby that you would like to share, I would love to relive it with you. Please comment and tell. 


To everyone that reads my blog, I am sorry if this post was a little self-indulgent of me. I hope to get back to discussing deeper issues soon. I am back at Otterbein for Winter quarter, but I will still be posting on this blog. I hope to do it weekly at a minimum. I love hearing everyone’s feedback and I love being apart of the discussions a blog like this can generate.


Over New Year’s I had the opportunity to spend the last four days of 2007 at a Christmas Conference with 40 friends from Otterbein and 2,000 students from the Great Lakes area. Upon arrival to the conference, each student (guy and girl) was presented with an advanced reading copy of the book Porn Nation, by Michael Leahy. When I first opened the book, I was a little standoffish. Nobody wants to be the person caught reading a book titled Porn Nation. Holding the book almost immediately places you under the stereotype of pervert or sex addict. But I would be lying if I didn’t admitt I was a little intrigued. Pornography is an issue every American is faced with today. If you own a televison, have access to the internet, or even walk down the magazine aisle at your local convenience store, you probably have been bombarded with your fair share of unwanted images. Do you know how difficult it was for me to find a picture to go with the title of this blog?

I would be a two-faced liar if I tried to act like the female body wasn’t an issue for me. Like any other red-blooded, American male, I have had my own struggles in the area of lust and purity. I believe 3 Doors Down got it right when they released their song back in February of 2000 titled Kryptonite. As a matter of fact, under my category for love I have a subcategory labeled “Kryptonite” devoted soley to girls. They are every man’s weakness.

I could type out a laundry list of scriptures ranging from the book of Job, to Jesus’s teachings and Paul’s writings, blatantly opposing sexual immortality. But sometimes that isn’t always enough. The biggest argument for pornography is that it doesn’t hurt anybody. Advocates insist pornography is a harmless fun people can indulge in on their own time. It is fun, for a moment (Hebrews 11:25). But the rest of that statement sounds like a lie fabricated by a libido driven society. Porn Nation tells the story of Michael Leahy’s struggle with pornography, and the downward spiral it resulted in. But it doesn’t just stop there, if his story isn’t powerful enough to make one reconsider the “innocence” of pornography, he continues with a long list of statistics proving the danger of it.

-) Incidents of child exploitation have risen from 4,573 in 1998 to 112,083 in 2004, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

-) 51% of US adults surveyed believe that pornography raises men’s expectations of how women should look and changes men’s expectations of how women should behave.

-) 40% of adults surveyed believe that pornography harms relationships between men and women.

-) More than 30% of 1,500 surveyed companies have terminated employees for inappropriate us of the internet.

-) Child pornography generates $3 billion annually worldwide (TopTen Reviews, March 2007)

These statistics make a firm argument against pornography. It reduces productivity at work, undermines male-female relationships, ruins the development of innocent children, and places unrealistic expectations on women. I have to wonder what impact pornography has on the self-esteem of the unsuspecting wife of a regualr porn user. This isn’t what God meant for marriage or the church.


-) At $13.3 billion, the 2006 revenue of the sex and porn industry in the US are bigger than the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball combined.

-) Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be $97 billion, more revenue than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and Earthlink combined. China is largest with $27.4 billion, South Korea is second at $25.7 billion, Japan is next at $20 billion, and the U.S. is fourth highest at $13.3 billion.

-) Every second $3,075 is spent on pornography, 28,258 internet users view pornography, and 372 Internet users type adult search terms into search engines.

-) 420 million: Total number of porn pages

-) Pornographers currently release over 13,000 adult movies per year- move than 25 times the mainstream movie production. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being produced in the U.S.

-) 1 in 3 visitors to all adult websites are women. 9.4 million women access adult websites every month.

-) The largest consumer of internet pornography is the 35-49 age group.

-) 20% of men and 13% of women admitted to accessing pornography at work. 72 million: The approximate number of  unique visitors to adult websites in 2006, per month, worldwide. 40 million: The number of U.S. adults who regularly visit porn websites.

-) One out of every six women grapples with addiction to pornography.

I sure hope these statistics are somehow inflated but I fear they aren’t. No one is exempt from the far reaches of pornography. Even women are affected. I know that this is an unacceptably long post on an untouchable subject but someone needs to address the elephant sitting in the middle of the room. Obviously this is an epidimic. Generation Sex, the first generation to ever be raised with unabated access to the internet and pornography is now finally coming of age. What is going to happen to them? What will become of my children? I am honestly scared that my children will mature to be moral vegetables. We need God now more than ever. I want to ask Al Gore the more importnat question, “Remember when the air was clean and the sex was dirty?”

Here are a couple final quotes from Porn Nation that I would like to close with:

Like resorting to the “F” word to win an argument, (the) media has always been aware of the competitive advantage of using any and all things sexual to capture the attention of their audience…how many times do you need to repeat the “F” word in a sentence to get my attention? Answer: as many times as it takes. And so (the) media no longer simply contains sex and innuendo, because that is what it now takes to get our attention. (Ex: Any Tag or Axe body spray commercial.)

Fifteen years ago, I was a ‘pervert’ and a ‘deviant’ who ought to be locked away. By today’s standards, I’m fairly normal, a ‘victim,’ a man like any other who ‘wrestles with his personal demons’ and like all of us ‘has his issues’ not a sick man but a man with a sickness. ( <—–Talk about a socio-sexual pathology)

 As once was the case with alcohol addiction, many people cannot accept the reality that women can become sex addicts. One of the greatest problems facing females addicts is convincing others they have a legitimate problem. For that reason, their struggle with shame and guilt is typically greater than what male addicts face. With sexual beliefs changing so rapidly, how comforting to know we’ve still clung to the misogyny and igonorance of  a previous century, where the ‘men are men’ and the women are whores! (This quote is for my feminist readers. It is a sad truth)


Through the course of the past month I have seen my younger sister get engaged (you can view her engagement pictures by clicking here), two close college friends get engaged, and a close high school friend get married. There is something about going to a wedding that really makes you think about your own life. I believe there is an unspoken rule in the male community that states, “Don’t bring your girlfriend with you to a wedding unless you are prepared to marry her yourself.” Weddings make people wistful. They make you ache for that long-term security and intimacy.

I am closing in on the age where each of my friends are either getting married or engaged; if I have not done one of the two within the next couple of years, people are going to begin wondering what is wrong with me. With everyone catching this love bug, I have found myself inordinately preoccupied with the idea of marriage. There are so many questions that must be answered before getting engaged.

 How long should you wait before popping the question? I have seen some people date only a couple of months before tying the knot. My pawpaw dated my grandmother two weeks before marrying her. My parents dated from December 14th ’84, to January 4th ’85, before getting engaged (granted they knew each other for close to a year.) In other instances, I have seen some people date three to five years before getting engaged. It is not uncommon in Italy, for a couple to date close to five years before getting engaged (not even married.)

Once you decide the time is right, how should you propose? Should you do it in private? In public? With your family around? Me and a group of friends debated this subject at a recent Christmas conference for Christian college students over New Year’s. Some guys argued the way you propose should be determined by the woman to whom you are proposing. They said you should do what is special to her. A couple of other guys argued the opposite. They said you should do it your own way with your own style. There are websites upon websites devoted to helping answer this question. What’s the right answer? How do I know which is right for me?

Of course, these previous questions are a moot point if you don’t have the most important question answered: whom do I want to marry? A person from your church may insist, “You both must have the same beliefs. That is the most important thing.” A professor from college may argue, “It’s all about having common interests. Birds of a feather flock together. If you have 70% in common you are lucky.” Hollywood exclaims, “How good is your sex life? Do you love them (what is love anyway)?” Your parents may interject, “Do they love their parents? Are they going to mesh well with our family?” What is the most important factor: life goals, religious beliefs, interests, chemistry, family….?

 With marriage being the single-most important decision in a person’s life, I don’t expect there to be one correct answer. As with most things, the answer is multiply determined. But what factor weighs the greatest? I am only twenty years old. While some of my friends may have found the love of their life already, I am fine with pondering these questions and being the one guy at your high school reunion that is thirty and single.

Smell the Color Nine

January 3, 2008


I would take no for an answer,
Just to know I heard you speak,
And I’m wondering why I’ve never,
Seen the signs they claim they see,
A lotta special revelations,
Meant for everybody but me,
Maybe I don’t truly know You,
or maybe I just simply believe…

Cause I can sniff, I can see, and I can
count up pretty high; but these faculties
aren’t getting me any closer to the sky,
but my heart of faith keeps poundin’ so
I know I’m doin’ fine but sometimes findin
you is just like tryin to smell the color nine.
Smell the color nine…

Now I’ve never felt the presence,
But I know You’re always near,
And I’ve never heard the calling,
But somehow You’ve led me right here,
So I’m not lookin’ for burnin’ bushes,
Or some Divine graffiti to appear,
I’m just beggin You for Your wisdom,
And I believe You’re puttin’ some here…

Cause I can sniff, I can see, and I can
count up pretty high; but these faculties
aren’t getting me any closer to the sky,
but my heart of faith keeps poundin’ so
I know I’m doin’ fine but sometimes findin
you is just like tryin to smell the color nine.
Smell the color nine…

Nine’s not a color…
and if even if it were you can’t smell a color, no
that’s my point exactly.

– Chris Rice


January 3, 2008


The date was January 4th, 1985. There he sat in his navy blue, ’83 Chevy Citation, a four-door hatchback he had bought when he was twenty, holding a small wooden box in his hands with the word “sweetheart” inscribed on the lid. He had packed his car to its fullest capacity in preparation for the move from New Orleans, to his new home in Hammond, Southeastern Louisiana University. The weather was exceptionally cool for the climate, but there he sat sweating like he had just jogged a mile.

He had many reasons to be anxious. SLU was hardly a picture of his dream college, but this is where life had taken him. Did he really want to leave everything he knew and move away to Hammond? Sure, he enjoyed his privacy and the freedom he experienced while at college, but he felt a certain security being under the provision of his parents and family. These were the questions he had wrestled with for the past couple of months. But the questions they presented, paled in comparison to the dilemma posed by this small box in his hands.

He and this box were well acquainted. After all, he had known it since the age of sixteen. Between then and now, he did not have much use for it. For being a box, it barely served its purpose at all. The past six years the box had not held one thing. It did not store. It did not preserve. It just set on a shelf in his closet-much like he was sitting in his car now-waiting to fulfill its purpose.

He opens the lid. The redolence of cedar creeps toward his nose reminding him of the many times he has held it and imagined its potential. To the normal passerby, the box looked like any other average keepsake. But he knew its power. If bestowed at the wrong time, it could change the course of his life forever. If it fell into the “wrong” hands, it could do irreparable damage. He begins to second-guess himself and considers calling the whole thing off, but this is the one thing that has felt right to him these first twenty one years. He could not sacrifice another moment to doubt.

She should be here any minute. He leans over to adjust the volume on the radio. The Imperials hardly set the mood for what he was preparing to do. He considers changing the music to something a little more romantic, but this is what he knows. It’s what they both know: Christianity. He glances into the rear-view mirror and adjusts the one hair that still manages to remain unstyled.

He inspects the box a final time to ensure it is still presentable. It no more belonged to him than the very heart beating in his chest at that moment. She had given them both purpose-something to dream about, something to live for. Five years previous, he bought this box to give to the woman he wanted to marry. That’s what he was going to do. He found that woman. That is what he did.


This is the story of my mom and dad’s engagement back in 1985. In one day it will be their 23 year anniversary of engagement. Congratulations Mom and Dad and congratulations to my sister who recently got engaged this past week.

Sweetly Broken

December 27, 2007


Do you ever have those moments when you say to God, “I need to meet with you tonight. I cannot leave here without experiencing you. I need to know you’re there.” I found myself in that position tonight at church. I had been going through a rough patch the past couple of days and I had brought a lot of baggage with me to service.  My spirit was heavy and I needed a good worship service desperately. While there, I was reminded of this song and scripture:

Isaiah 61:3- To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love, I’m
sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

It wasn’t until I allowed myself to fully worship God that I experienced the release I needed.  It was then that he gave the “garment of praise” in place of my “spirit of heaviness.”


 One of my favorite things about the holiday season is hearing the different traditions families use to celebrate Christmas. It’s amazing to hear some the stories families have regarding their holiday traditions. I think some of you might find my family’s story pretty amusing.

My immediate family came from pretty humble beginnings. I am one of five kids, three boys and two girls. When I was a child, my dad didn’t have the best paying job and my mom worked just to help pay for the kid’s tuition. Needless to say, money was a little bit tight, forcing us to make due with the bare minimum sometimes (ex: powdered milk instead of regular milk…soup and rice for dinner 4 times a week) and appreciate even the smallest things. During Christmas time the reality of money rang even more true, forcing us to compensate for what we didn’t have by using what we did. I remember waking up one Christmas morning only to find my mom’s panty hose hanging on the wall in place of the Christmas stockings. My parents couldn’t afford to get us real stockings so they used my mom’s “stockings” instead. Most people would be appalled at the sight of their mom’s stockings hanging from the wall. I would have been, but those stockings can really stretch so that meant we got a lot more stuff in them. Unfortunately, a lot of times the stuff we got wasn’t always that great. While some families help stuff stockings with fruit and nuts my family couldn’t afford those luxuries. Not wanting to leave our stockings empty, my mom and dad created a “vegetable of the year.” Imagine the look on your kids faces when they pull a potato out of their stockings on Christmas morning (that was our first vegetable of the year.) When it came time for opening presents our family savored every moment. We had a rule that everyone opened one present at a time while everyone else watched. This helped extend the experience and make up for getting less presents than normal. Other great Johnson family traditions include:

1) Choosing the sex of the Christmas tree (Is it going to be Mr or Mrs Tree this year?)

2) The name of the tree (my sister always named the tree after her current boyfriend)

3) Putting the angel on the top of the tree (dad would always hold up one of the little ones so they could do it)

4) Getting presents from “Daddy Clause.”

 5) Waking up very early in the morning to the sound of my dad crowing like a rooster to wake up the kids.

6) Going back to sleep after opening presents and eating breakfast. My mom and dad usually spent Christmas Eve night wrapping all the presents and setting up the living room. As a result, they wouldn’t get to bed until the wee hours of the morning. The kids woke up sometime between 5-7 out of anticipation for present opening which meant my mom and dad only got a couple hours of sleep.

 I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. This morning I was probably the only kid in the world happy to see his mom’s panty hose hanging on the wall and find a beet in his stocking.

Don’t Touch Me!

December 23, 2007


Last week I found myself in a position many college students would find themselves in at three o’clock in the morning, on my knees in front of the toilet, puking my guts out. It was an experience fairly new to me. I hadn’t been sick to the point of throwing up since I got the flu in high school and I have never partied or drank while in college. As I knelt on the cold linoleum, with my head spinning and body trembling, there must have been a hundred thoughts flying through my head . “This is more painful than I remember.” “Is that spaghetti I taste? I ate that yesterday!” “Is my appendix going to explode?” “Oh, I wish mom were here.  She would know what to do.” After all, momma knows best. Three hours later, however, when I arrived home, I wasn’t greeted by mom with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a vile containing the cure to tummy pain. I was greeted by my dad. What’s the first thing he does? He doesn’t run to the cupboard and grab a bottle of Pepto. He walks over to the side of my bed and places his hands on my head and prays for me. Now most people would squirm at the thought of this. When your sick the last thing you want is to be touched. A cold cloth. Good. Pepto. Good. Dad laying hands on me. What?

But I have to ask, why is the idea of my dad laying his hands on me and praying for me so weird, especially to a Christian like myself? Doesn’t Jesus tells us in Mark 16:18 that we would “lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” During Paul’s conversion weren’t the scales from his eyes removed through Ananias laying his hands on him and praying for him? Acts 28 tells a wonderful story of healing through Paul’s laying on of hands: 

 7)There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 ) His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9)When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.

 The entire island was healed! How amazing! All throughout the gospels we see instances of Jesus healing people through the laying on of hands too. In Mark 5:23 a man pleads with Jesus, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” Why did Jairus insist that Jesus place his hands on his daughter and pray for her? There must have been something to it. Am I saying that anytime we want to pray for someone we should put our hands on them? Of course not. Paul said in 1 Timothy 5:22 “not to be hasty in the laying on of hands.” I’m just wondering why don’t we do it more? Is it because we’re afraid? Do we not want to make people uncomfortable? Maybe we don’t truly believe in the power behind the laying on of hands. I know that if I had to choose between making someone uncomfortable for a few moments or God healing them, there would be no debate. Maybe the problem is that deep down inside I believe there is a greater chance of me making someone uncomfortable than of God healing them.