Rev William Granthom

(creator: D G Isch)

D G Isch
Rev William (Willie) J Granthom is a newly ordained young pastor in his early twenties. It is 1910. His ambition has long been to go preaching in the untamed West around the Texas Panhandle. He had been orphaned at the age of eight when his father, a long-time miner, and his mother had both been killed in a mysterious mine explosion. He had then been well cared for by Dolan Clancy, a lawyer working for the mining company, before being sent off to seminary in South Carolina when he had chosen to “help to tame the very country that took my family". So he had decided to work for the Community Church Missions Centre, first in South Carolina then in El Paso.

At first he is very inexperienced and naive, but this all changes through a profound spiritual experience when he meets 75-year-old Archibald Andrew Armstrong, who converts him to a completely new understanding of his faith. And in the end he succeeds in his ambition to solve the mystery of his parents' deaths.

D G Isch (date of birth?) was born and raised in the Arizona desert. He became a Kung Fu teacher then head instructor of the American Kung Fu Association. He was also a businessman, a bodyguard, private investigator and undercover agent. After retiring to Albaquerqe, he rededicated his life to Christ, and, after ten years of street ministry and running successful drug and alcohol programs at local churches, turned to writing Christ-centered novels and poems. He now lives with his wife Diane and their two dogs in Silver City, New Mexico. He is also the author of Into the Desert.

Archie and the Preacher (2004)
Archie and the Preacher describes how newly ordained 23-year-old William (Willie) Granthom (who tells the story throughout) is sent off by the Bishop of the Community of Churches to preach in the wilds of southwest Texas - and they were wild in 1910. But he is despatched without any supplies or means of transport, and with a deliberately misleading map so that he almost perishes. Has all this had been done deliberately?

There is a lively description of his adventures in the dreadful settlement of New Trees, a “metropolis of probably 25 or so people” where, when he asked a man to direct him to the local church, he was told, “There ain't no church from here to Midland, lad, so if you don't want a whore or a drink, move along.”
“Good sir, I am here to preach a sermon today and wish to know where services are normally held.”
“Services, ha! They ain't been a Bible spouter around here for years. And I'm not sure that one lived out the day.”
This was not at all the sort of reception that the naively innocent William had expected, but he went on to try asking again at the local saloon, alarmed to notice that it was called Duggins Emporium for Spirits and Flesh.“I was taken aback. They actually advertise the weakness of the human condition and openly revel in their actions of .... Lord, what have I stumbled upon, the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah?”

All this gets the story off to an interesting, even entertaining start, but when Willy starts to argue with the bar owner, he gets knocked out and ends up in a hospital bed 30 or so miles away. He sets off on his travels once again and comes across Archie (Archibald Andrew Armstrong), a 75-year-old civil war veteran who takes him in, and gradually tells him about the need to take Jesus into his life and be born again, a "hard sell" that fills page after page. Archie, who has a broad smile and "a peace and joy about him that .... only God could give", goes on to help Willie work out possible motives that the bishop might have had in sending him to almost certain death - and it turns out eventually that it is all connected with insurance money that may shortly be due to him.

But first there is a great deal of sermonising, all of which Willie seems able to remember word for word, that convinces him that it is only now, for the first time, that he is getting to know the real Jesus. But as he discovers more and more about Archie, he also realises how wrong it is to make quick assumptions about people, and with the help of the local sheriff (already converted) and the marshal (who becomes Willie's own first convert) he is eventually able to confront the scheming bishop, and bring the story to a dramatic end.

Willie himself now emerges as "tall and lean and aggressive and confident .... a new man" who "would teach Christ to the world, and the principles that had been laid out for me would not only be the living and active Word of God in me, but the very foundation on which I would lay my entire ministry. Nothing happens in God's world by accident, and by the living God and His Son, Jesus Christ, I would do His bidding." He had been shown ten principles by which to live ("As Christians we are protected by the power of God the father", "We must ready our minds for action, and leave judgment to God", "Love one another from the heart through the living and abiding Word of God", etc) that are listed for us on as many as three separate occasions. They obviously mean much to the author.

However, it makes a stronger and more interesting story than that of the author's other novel Into the Desert, and, if you can cope with all the preaching (which can get very off-putting), there are some entertaining, even quite exciting, moments.


The author has his own simple homemade-looking website: Directions in Christ Ministries but there seem no other references to him on the web, other than adverts for his books.




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Archie and the Preacher cover
The cover seems to have little connection with the strong evangelical content.
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