Columbine Files


"The World Gone Mad"

John Ruffle. London, England.
Letter to a Pastor in Littleton, Colorado.
4th May 1999


Words are completely inadequate to express the torrent of thought that we share with you in these past days. I've received all your emails. I keyed out a reply, which was, in my tiredness, (I had been up some 20+ hours when I wrote) trite, so binned it. So, over the next day, I penned two pieces to you in my notebook. These I will key into the computer and mail off to you very shortly.

When we first heard about the tragic event in Littleton, some strange quirk of my mind [alerted me]. In trepidation, I looked at those martyred faces [in TIME Magazine].. I hesitated at the picture of Rachel Scott. The name seemed somehow familiar to me, and in retrospect, it is quite possible that you have mentioned [her] to me [before].

On the Saturday, when, unknown to us at that time, Rachel was being laid to rest, Annette and I were celebrating both her birthday and our wedding anniversary. Little Jean-Paul is over one year old now, and [my wife] Annette says how it would be nice to have a little brother or sister to play with. I said to Annette, "If we have another little girl, let's call her Rachel".

However, it was that night that I downloaded several weeks worth of email. I did it in fear and trembling.. fearing honestly the worst case scenario when I saw mail from you keep re-appearing. I knew that your own family was somehow safe, yet I was afraid, knowing that this tragedy had touched you in some tragic way. And it had.

I wished Annette and I could hold the Scott family so tight to us and cry a little with them*. Maybe one day we can. However I know that the real comforter is the Holy Spirit, and our heart for those precious ones is the heart of the Holy Spirit, Who knows no barriers of time or distance.

On the Monday, tragedy struck it's evil shadow within a mile of our home, and within a crazed gunman's running distance from the building where we launched out with [our church plant] Living Waters. Jill Dando, one of our best known TV presenters was shot dead at point blank range as she turned to open her front door. She was a Christian - one of the rare ones in British media. She was another English Rose. On her way to her destiny, she stopped at our local mini-mall, shopped at the electronics store that I shop in, and drove down the back streets, it is thought, avoiding the traffic, past our house, and in less than ten minutes, she lay dead. Meanwhile, the killer ran through the park where my children play, and was last seen at the bus stop outside our previous church building, waiting for the bus that takes my two older children to school.

Bruce, my friend. We live in a world gone mad. We reap what we sow. The Western world is reaping now the consequences of permissiveness, of a so-called "free" culture where everyone - including devils incarnate have equal rights with law abiding, God fearing citizens. You, dear friend, have prophesied it time and time again. And we have seen, no experienced the pain and the shadow of it in recent days. None of us would wish any of this to happen. Indeed, if there was anything we could -and can- do to turn the tide, that is our heart set. Yet, through the pain, it makes the stark reality no less real.

Oh may I have a heart that cries out night and day for the Body of Christ to rise up and be what we must be in this hour. May I cast off all complacency, and be what I must be. And let me stand together with my brothers and sisters. Only in standing together in love and unity across the petty doctrinal differences, and in standing in love and compassion, then on our knees and on our faces before a holy God, will this war be won.

My brother, I close now. I pray these words may be read as words of comfort. They are in no way words of judgment. If that were the case, I would first have to consider the four fingers pointing at myself. Jesus TOOK all judgment for us on calvary, yet He IS the "God of All Comfort". That is the important thing for Littleton. And I do truly believe that something great and glorious, costing as it has, the ultimate sacrifice, will come from this, and that many, many, will be turned to righteousness as a result. I KNOW it will be so. Rachel Scott has her heartís desire.. a perfect relationship with her Lord, and she truly has become, in a tragic way, a missionary not just to Africa.. but to the whole world.


Your friend,


*[We did, indeed have the privelage of hugging, laughing and crying with Rachel's mother and step-father rather sooner than we expected, during August 1999, when Beth & Larry Nimmo were our guests while in London, England.]

Copyright 1999-2006 John E. Ruffle, London, England. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy unedited extracts for non-profit making purposes with author's credit and this copyright notice intact.

arrow back arrow back