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Milt Gross Book Review: "Stories I Couldn't Tell While I Was a Pastor" by Bruce McIver
By Milt Gross
Nov 29, 2015 - 5:43:11 AM

Stories I Couldn't Tell While I was a Pastor I first read years ago. I found it to be told as if everyone knows or cares what a minister goes through. As it did before, the tale comes across to me as fairly arrogant, although some of his stories are interesting and emotional. Makes me happy that I'm no longer a minister. Milt Gross photo.
I can't remember from where we (I think Dolores found it somewhere.) found this old book which I read about 30 years ago. I read it again and found it to be about the same as it had been. I think I had left the ministry when I read it the first time....or shortly thereafter.

Had I still been in "the ministry" when I read it this time, I think I may have left that "calling" again. I just checked the publication date, 1991, and realize I had been a news reporter -- not a minister -- then and had recently met Dolores, a short time after both of us had been divorced.

The book is a series of short stories, which reflect the writer's life. Some of them resembled my life in "the calling." Some of his stories are amusing, while some are a bit emotional. All seem to somehow convey the notion that everyone nearly worships a clergyman. This one lived in Texas but was from the Southeast. A few of his tales tell about his earlier home. Some of the tales are about his life after his wife passed away and his continuing relationship with his daughter.

The book is divided into two titles, the other being Just as Long as I'm Riding up Front, which is simply more of the same type of stories. This title, I'm sure, comes from a funeral he conducted, the ride to the cemetery, and the funeral.

Actually, I'm not sure he should ever have told some of these stories as they involve people from the church he pastored. If he wrote about me, I think I may have been offended. But he may have had their permission.

A picture drawn on the front cover shows a preacher in what I think was his opinion of himself, a kind of caricature of what he thought he looked like.

Overall, this Guideposts (Carmel, New York) edition by arrangement with Word Publishing, an evangelical press, comes across as written when it was. There were folks then who did worship their clergy. It is hard for me to believe that some still do, but some evangelical churchgoers I since met over the years apparently worshipped theirs. still sells this one for one cent for a hardcover in one ad and $3.97 for the same hardcover in another ad. runs several ads with one price as high as $24.90 for the same hardcover. One paperback edition, they list for $36.83. No price is in the book itself, a hardcover.

McIver, in addition to being a Texas clergyman was also on the Baptist Press Staff from 1977 to 1982, according to a website. Another writer wrote about "how much manipulation and power Bruce McIver has in all of this," in a different website. Interesting observation.

I won't bother retelling any of his tales. If you want to read them, you can have my copy, as long as you make sure it doesn't get returned to me.

I have to admit it was interesting reading a book I'd read so long ago.

I'm fairly sure I won't read it again.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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