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"God was little more than a rabbit's foot, before finding faith," says politician

"God was little more than a rabbit's foot, before finding faith," says politician
"I want faith to be the reality of life," says John Kasich

ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs Interviews former Ohio Governor and presidential candidate, John Kasich on his faith, life, politics and the Coronavirus. A former Roman Catholic, Kasich is now an Anglican.

By David W. Virtue, DD
April 22, 2020

John Kasich faced a Kairos moment in his self-sufficient life --- a car crash suddenly took the lives of his father and mother. His life suddenly and dramatically changed.

In an exclusive interview with ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs, John Kasich talks about his life, faith and public leadership.

According to an official Wikipedia entry, John Kasich is a national leader who has spent a lifetime bringing people together to solve big problems and leaving the world around them just a little bit better than they found it.

As the 69th Governor of Ohio (2010-2018), John Kasich led the Ohio Comeback. His administration inherited an $8 billion budget shortfall that they solved without a tax increase. He went on to cut a record $5 billion in taxes, cut wasteful spending and reduced red tape. Ohio created nearly 550,000 jobs during his two terms in Office.

Gov. Kasich ran for President during the 2016 GOP primary. He was the last candidate to leave the race and finished third in the total delegate count. His message focused on unifying Americans, rather than dividing them, championing the great potential of our citizens to make positive impacts in their own communities, a strong national defense and the importance of our international alliances.

When he served in Congress (1982-2000), Kasich was Chairman of the House Budget Committee and worked across party lines to pass the first federally balanced budget since man walked on the moon. It hasn't been done again since he left Congress.

Kasich also served for 18 years on the Armed Services Committee where he played a role in every major national security effort that helped end the Cold War. He continues today to be a strong voice for traditional Republican policies of a strong national defense and an advocate for free trade.

Kasich declined to support the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and did not attend the 2016 Republican National Convention, which was held in the state that he represented at the time. He reported that he wrote-in the name of U.S. Senator and former 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Kasich is married to Karen and they have twin daughters.

The former governor worships at St. Augustine Anglican Church in Westerville, Ohio and is spoken of as a man of faith and integrity. He is known as the guy who never gives up.

Bishop Julian Dobbs is the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of the Living Word, a constituent diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. He recently interviewed Kasich.

DOBBS: I want to talk about your faith and the night you got a phone call in 1987 about a drunk driver colliding with your parents and their subsequent death.

KASICH: When I was a young boy in the 4th grade, I spent a lot of time as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. I graduated to be a commentator and would lead the people. I went off to college where God became a rabbit's foot. I returned to my church once and the priest was holding the host while I was standing. He called me back to the sacristy and said, "if I ever see you standing for the host it will be a dark day for you." I then dabbled in and out of politics. God became a rabbit's foot.

Some friends on Capitol Hill wanted me to join a bible study in April 1987. It was a fatal time for me. I entered the black hole. It was totally black with just a pin prick of light. A young minister came to see me (my mother was Anglican) and he asked me how I stood with the Lord. It was a window of opportunity. I have been going through that window of opportunity for 33 years. God does exist and he cares about me. I tackled [the Christian Faith] like an investigation.

The question is finding about faith and how you get it. Faith is a gift from God. I think there are voices that come into our lives that crowd out hearing from the Lord. What we get from God needs to crowd out other voices.

Reading the scriptures and reflecting the power of those peoples' miracles gives you a sense of the reality of the story and gives you faith that the story is true. It is important not to listen to other voices out there that say He never rose from the dead.

It is hard for everybody in the end. We have a choice; do we believe in life everlasting or do we not...the importance of Jesus. We need to look at our own lives. What we achieve, is it our own merit?

DOBBS: On the coronavirus. You recently wrote in USA Today, that the Coronavirus made you doubt your faith, but it was there all along.

KASICH: Religion for me is not a mind game I've learned to play to help me answer some of life's unanswerable questions. This is not a workaround or a get-out-of-jail-free card I choose to play when things get tough. No, this is me, knowing with dead-solid certainty that we are graced by the most powerful being to ever exist in the universe, who cares for us, who cares for our families, who cares about what we do and how we live our lives and the footprints we mean to leave behind. He does. Absolutely, He does. And if you come to embrace this truth, as I have come to embrace this truth, you can internalize it and grow from it, and it can give you the hope and strength and confidence you need to get to the other side of even an unknowable difficulty such as this one and to somehow emerge all the better for it. Maybe while we're self-isolating at home, we can use this time to examine what we believe and how we mean to power ourselves forward after coronavirus.

Look, I know we all believe in our own ways... or, not. We have our own ideas of faith and the hereafter. I'm not here to judge, and I hope you won't judge me either. But if for some reason you're put off by these words, or if the idea of this kind of faith simply doesn't appeal to you, I'd encourage you to take this time to study and reflect and come to your own conclusions.

People rush through their lives, and maybe they look at the sports pages or their investment portfolios or their work emails. It's a rush, every day, all the time, and we don't really take the time to look inward. To consider what really matters in this life and in the life to come. So maybe we can find a kind of silver lining in this moment of pause while we're self-isolating at home and really examine what we believe and how we mean to power ourselves forward when the lights are switched back on and we return to our regular routines.

DOBBS: Should ministers engage in politics?

KASICH: If you want to be a minister then go to seminary and if you want to be a politician, take the collar off and run for office. From Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King was a great spiritual leader...he talked about politics...values we find in the Book (Bible). If you want to be in politics, run for office.

In Ohio, we expanded Medicaid. We made an enormous contribution when the virus came along and we opened up more facilities. Are houses of worship taking the mandate of service more seriously?

DOBBS: You wrote in your book about treasure; "Where your treasure is there is your heart also. You talk about your treasure being in the Lord, from the word of God.

KASICH: In my book "Every Other Monday" which I wrote when I was running for governor, I wrote about treasures; It is a balance between realizing true priorities.

It is better to be rich than poor, but where do you put your priorities. How would you like to pass away from earth and be put in anxiety for all eternity? St. Paul says you have to think about eternity. What is the purpose of life? It is not making a deal with Christ. It is about a relationship.

DOBBS: You are known for your leadership you have never given up? What has kept you going?

KASICH: I have not taken many personal knocks. You do walk a lonely road. I have a small group of people that I meet with. One takes the slings and arrows I look at the rise of Christianity post resurrection. It blossomed into an unbelievable miracle.

You know, during the 2016 campaign, I often leaned on my relationship with Jesus Christ to get through a tough moment. Once, in a packed arena in Washington, appearing before a gathering of religious leaders from across the country, I was not sure what to say to those good people. So, I waited in the wings and offered a silent prayer: "Jesus," I said, "would you just come up on the stage with me so I know you're standing there?" I did the same thing a time or two before the presidential debates, and do you know something? Each time out, I could feel His presence, and it gave me strength.

DOBBS: what about church?

KASICH: I ONCE told Bishop Peter Beckwith, "I don't need to go to church." He said, "You need to go to church to see that church is important now. So, we started our church in a living room.

DOBBS: One of the challenges is that evangelical Christians have become the mouthpiece of the Republican Party. Has that damaged the Church?

KASICH: I don't know, I have to think about that. I'd rather not say. We should remember that when we talk about these issues... about the poor and refugees we have to be careful that we are not associating with those who divide.

We had better learn about the less fortunate. The problem of food stamps. People don't realize how tough life is as a single mum trying to raise kids. It's about humanity. It's not red or blue nonsense. I need to care about my brothers and sisters.

There comes a time in everyone's life when things get a little tough, and how we respond to these moments of crisis says a whole lot about our character and our worldview. It says a lot about our faith, too. Personally, I can't imagine facing the storms and dust-ups of this world without a strong sense of a supreme being that takes care of us, watches over us, and creates endless opportunities for us to be the best we can be, even in the face of turmoil and uncertainty. I can't imagine looking ahead at what's to come without the firm foundation of knowing what's come before--and what's awaiting us on the other side.

It's our legacy that matters in the end. It's the example we've set for our children, the impact we've managed to make in our community. It's what we've built, not what we've gained. Remember, the promise of our eternal future is real. Because we are blessed with a loving God who created us for life, not death. Because it is in times of crisis and doubt that we are pushed to examine our beliefs, and perhaps even to steady ourselves in those beliefs with the good counsel of trusted friends -- and the renewal of a faith that's been there all along.

To listen to the podcast of Bishop Dobb's interview with John Kasich, click here: https://www.adlw.org/living-through-the-word-podcast


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