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Windows of the Soul: Experiencing God in New Ways

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Praise for Windows of the Soul Every once in a while a book comes along that makes you stop and think―and then think some more―like Ken Gire’s wonderful book Windows of the Soul. ―John Trent in Christian Parenting Today Ken Gire has created a book that gently pours forth, like water out of a garden bucket, cleansing our thoughts and opening the petals of our spirits, providing us with a new sense of clarity in our search for God. ―Manhattan (KS) Mercury Each word, each phrase, is painstakingly wrought, loaded with thoughts and prayer, and filled with new glimpses of God’s love, grace, and strength. ―The Christian Advocate Windows of the Soul will surprise you with the many and varied windows God uses to speak to us. With the heart of an artist, Ken Gire paints word pictures in prose and poetry that will thrill your heart. ―Mature Living Windows of the Soul is a rare book, resounding with the cry for communion that is both ours and God’s. With passion, honesty, and beauty, Ken Gire calls us to a fresh sensitivity to God’s voice speaking through the unexpected parables that surround us. ―Christian Courier

224 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Ken Gire

71 books41 followers
Ken Gire is the author of more than 20 books, including "The Divine Embrace," "Windows of the Soul," "The Work of His Hands," the Moments with the Savior series, and the Reflective Life series. He has also co-authored "The Birthright" with John Sheasby. Two of his books have been awarded a Gold Medallion. A full-time writer and speaker, Ken is the founder of Reflective Living, a nonprofit ministry devoted to helping people learn how to slow down and live more reflective lives so they can experience life more deeply, especially life with God and other people. Ken is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He has four children and three grandchildren and lives near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, Colorado.

As a bestselling author, Ken speaks primarily on the subjects in the books he has written. In the past, he has spoken at such venues as Bill and Gloria Gaither's Praise Gathering, Billy Graham's Training Center---the Cove, Laity Lodge, Wind River Ranch, Young Life, as well as a variety of denominational and non-denominational churches. He has spoken in the church service itself but has mostly done church retreats. He is available to speak for large, public events as the keynote speaker or for smaller, more private events, such as leadership retreats. In all of his talks, Ken uses a variety of audio-visuals, such as film clips, and so the host would need to have the necessary equipment and someone to operate it. His messages can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the venue. Since most of his speaking topics are from the books Ken has written, you can get a greater feel for his talks by first getting the book from Amazon.com, which carries both his in-print and out-of-print books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews
Profile Image for Kyle McManamy.
169 reviews8 followers
October 24, 2022
This is probably my fourth time through this book. It could be my sixth. I always open it with pleasure and close it with benefit. It's the book that I gift the most and one of the ones which, had I to choose just a few to read for life, I would select. I find myself hard-pressed to distinguish whether it just has a personal connection to me (because of the insights and enjoyable style) or if it's a truly wonderful book, but I lean towards the latter. I will never say, "I have now read this for the last time."
Profile Image for Neil R. Coulter.
1,064 reviews104 followers
October 12, 2018
People at work wanted to read this and discuss it together, which we'll start doing next month. And so I wish I enjoyed it a lot more than I did. It's not terrible, it's just a little syrupy for my tastes. One challenge for me as I read it is that I didn't know anything about Ken Gire, but his writing style feels like what you'd say to a close friend. I don't have the trust relationship yet, so until he started telling his own personal history, I didn't care very much about what he was writing (because of the nature of the book's personal, spiritual content). Later in the book, he does tell his story, bit by bit, so that helped.

Two chapters that stood out to me were "Windows of Vocation" and "Windows of the Wilderness." They resonated with where I'm at right now—though Gire is on the other side of it, and I'm still stuck in the middle of the wilderness, which is a little painful. Gire writes:
Suddenly I found myself against a God who baited me and then set the hook. But it was not the punishment of the hook. That was nothing. It was the hunger in my soul, and that I was against something, or something was against me, that I did not comprehend. That was everything. (108)
I know that feeling, and I can't wait to be through it and looking back on it in hindsight. Someday.

Gire's chapter "Windows of Art" is a really nice example of one person getting to know an artist (Van Gogh) and finding depth and meaning in the journey. That chapter made me want to read more about Van Gogh.
Profile Image for Jeff Abramovitz.
2 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2016
Windows of the Soul is an incredibly powerful read!

My wife and I read Windows of the Soul at the recommendation of a friend. I didn't have a lot of expectations. But, as we progressed through the book, it became evident why this book has become one of my friends' favorites and why it is now one of ours. I suspect that one time won't be the only time we read it. Ken Gire is to writing as Van Gogh is to painting. Masterful!
Profile Image for Claxton.
97 reviews3 followers
January 5, 2019
Sometimes sentimental, but I love how Gire can start a sentence & even halfway through I have no idea where it's going, & it regularly ends in pleasant surprise, making connections I didn't see coming. He's probably too soft & even sappy for many (esp. men), but so well read -- this work is a tapestry of great writers and thinkers and artists -- there is depth and brilliance here, not just sentiment.

Here are a few favorite passages (again, for my sake mostly):

Whenever I hear Górecki’s “Third Symphony” or Rachmani-
noff’s “Vespers,” whenever I read Rilke’s poem “The Man Watch-
ing” or Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird, whenever I see
the movie Camelot or the stage play Les Miserables, something
“Tookish” wakes in me, a sleepy-eyed awareness that there is
more to me than I know. And suddenly I want to set aside my
walking stick and strap on a sword, and leave the cozy security of
my hobbit hole in search of some far-off adventure.
Like the dormant gene that wakes with the dawn of our
adolescence, rousing us toward adulthood, moments like these
reveal we are destined for greater things than make-believe
adventures in the fenced-in yards of our youth.

Art, literature, and music waken us to the alluring beauty of
that destiny. But, as C. S. Lewis cautions, “The book or the music
in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we
trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and
what came through them was longing…. They are not the thing it-
self; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the
echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have
never visited.” ......

This longing that wells up in us, though, does not spring into
existence on its own. “God is always previous,” is the way the
theologian von Hügel put it. “You would not have called to me
unless I had been calling to you,” is the way Aslan put it, the lion
in the Narnia Chronicles who called Edmund and three other
children from England into the magical land of Narnia. The way
the apostle John put it was, “We love because he first loved us.”
Maybe, too, that is why we long.
“God’s yearning for us stirs up our longing in response,” said
Howard Macy in Rhythms of the Inner Life. “God’s initiating pres-
ence may be ever so subtle—an inward tug of desire, a more-
than-coincidence meeting of words and events, a glimpse of the
beyond in a storm or in a flower—but it is enough to make the
heart skip a beat and to make us want to know more.” .....
Parables are pictures that emerge from the jigsaw events of
life, however irregular or disconnected they may first appear. “All
happenings, great and small, are parables whereby God speaks,”
said Malcolm Muggeridge; “the art of life is to get the message.”
To see all that is offered us at the windows of the soul and to
reach out and receive what is offered, this is the art of living. ....

Art can warm even a chilled and sunless soul to an
exalted spiritual experience. Through art we occasionally
receive—indistinctly, briefly—revelations the likes of which cannot
be achieved by rational thought.
It is like the small mirror of legend:
you look into it but instead of yourself you glimpse for a moment the
Inaccessible, a realm forever beyond reach. And your soul begins to
ache …

C. S. Lewis explained the right way to look at a work of art when
he said: “We sit down before a picture in order to have some-
thing done to us, not that we may do things with it. The first de-
mand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen.
For many of us, though, that is not what we do. We look and
listen, but instead of receiving, we react; instead of surrendering,
we resist; instead of coming away changed, we come away crit-
ical. And that is true whether we come away from a movie we see
on Saturday night or a sermon we hear on Sunday morning.

The spiritual world … cannot be made suburban.
It is always frontier, and if we would live in it,
we must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.
Rhythms of the Inner Life

All of this, and, if I paid the tuition, showed up for classes,
did the required work, I would become in four years a master of
It was all so safe.
And safe is what we all really want to be, isn’t it? It was what
the children wanted to be in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and
the Wardrobe, when they first heard that the true king of Narnia
was a lion.
Susan asks the Beavers. “Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather
nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if
there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees
knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe? “ said Lucy.
“Safe? “ said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver
tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe.
But he’s good.”

“The Man Watching” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win, it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

C.S. Lewis: “Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers,
only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I was given the choice,
as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety. The man chose suf-
fering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the

Søren Kierkegaard once said: “Life must be lived forwards,
but it can be understood only backwards.”

“The more I think it over,” said van Gogh, “the more I feel
that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

Whenever you find tears in your eyes,
especially unexpected tears,
it is well to pay the closest attention.
They are not only telling you something about
the secret of who you are, but more often than not God
is speaking to you through them of the mystery
of where you have come from and is summoning
you to where, if your soul is to be saved,
you should go next.
Whistling in the Dark

Where did Solomon get his eyes and his ears and his heart to
God appeared to him in a dream at Gibeon, telling him to ask
for whatever he wanted. When he asked for “a discerning heart”
so he could have the wisdom to rule God’s people, it pleased
God so much He granted the request beyond Solomon’s wildest
It’s interesting to note that the word discerning comes from
the Hebrew word that means “to hear.” A “hearing heart” is what
Solomon literally asked for, a heart that could look at an over-
grown field or an ant at work and see windows of the soul. That
same word is used in the great commandment, “Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
The first step toward being wise is also the first step in loving
God, and that is being attentive to the words He has spoken.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs
through it,” wrote Maclean as he was concluding his book. What
the psalmist writes is a little different. Eventually, all things
merge into oblivion. All things on earth, that is. But in heaven
stands the city of God, and a river runs through it. One of the
things the river offers the city is its gladness.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Profile Image for David Campton.
1,032 reviews34 followers
January 23, 2016
This is a book that I have had on my bookshelf for a long time, and despite it being repeatedly recommended by others, especially during a period of prolonged depression, I never got round to reading it. I'm so glad I now have and would recommend it to anyone. It has hints of Philip Yancey's style and spirituality about it, but rather than using the experiences of others, as is Yancey's journalistic approach, Gire uses his own life experiences as hooks to hang his thesis on. Coming from a thorough-going "Bible-focused" evangelical perspective, Gire encourages us to open our eyes to see and hear God speaking to us through other "windows" of revelation. The confessional, devotional tone and Gire's poetic turn of phrase (which actually I found more evident in his prose than his poetry) makes up for any lack of theological depth. A good Lenten study particularly if you want something that is awake to literature and the arts. A second reading wasn't perhaps as good as the first, but that is the nature of the book and doesn't detract from my initial assessment of its merits.
8 reviews2 followers
July 19, 2011
I liked the format of the book. The author stresses that we experience God in all of life. Literature, art, music, nature etc., are all places to encounter the One whose we are. His writing flows easily and he ends each small chapter with a prayer for application of the former lesson. A nice devotional reading.
Profile Image for Olivia Elmes.
5 reviews35 followers
December 29, 2016
I am going to read this book many more times in my life! It's one of those reads, that just ties things together. It makes sense! It's creative and so well written, truly impacted the way I will read and write and sing, with a new attuned spirit towards seeking God! Sorge is an artistic and truthful writer.
549 reviews17 followers
September 7, 2007
This is a great book that just feels very different from a lot of the Christian books I usually read, it just feels more poetic. It’s about just being intimate with God and connecting with Him deeply.
Profile Image for Rachel.
105 reviews2 followers
November 8, 2011
schmaltzy, melodramatic, theologically inaccurate. if I could give this book negative stars, I would.
February 19, 2016
Read this years ago. I loved this book and refer back to it often! It looks at how God is in every part of our life experiences.
Profile Image for Morgan McGehee.
41 reviews
July 2, 2022
A favorite Christian book that I need to return to soon! Ken Gire has a way with words and storytelling that makes faith topics more approachable. In this book he connects faith to literature, cinema, art, music, and more!
160 reviews9 followers
April 14, 2023
I'm not sure how to write an adequate review for this book. It moved me deeply. The author skillfully described real life examples using carefully chosen words to show how, if we are truly looking, our experiences can be the windows through which God's personal love for us shines through.
Profile Image for Jeff.
120 reviews29 followers
May 26, 2015
Ken Gire is one of my favorite writers, not just because he can turn a phrase with the best of them, but also because he has such a heart for a thriving relationship with God. In this book, Ken helps us learn to be alert for God's presence and messages in the people and situations we face, and in all we do. By following his lead, we'll be better able to see deeper meanings that are often clouded by what lies on the surface, and thereby grow in our ability to touch others (and be touched ourselves) by God's heart.
84 reviews
June 4, 2016
The author shared many good insights and more than most other books, I identified with this author as he shared his struggles with trying to begin a career as a writer.
He shows many ways to see God and our soul in the everyday activities and events surrounding our lives. This was a good book.
8 reviews1 follower
Currently reading
November 8, 2007
Wow! I know this is a good book because I can't stop thinking about it. Sometimes it's so good that I have to put it down because it's so thought provoking.
June 28, 2008
I liked it. It spoke to me. What else can I say. If I don't like a book I usually don't finish it, and thus don't feel justified in marking it "read".
Profile Image for Stephy Jemmisparks.
Author 1 book1 follower
June 30, 2008
This book is a little hard for me to engage in, and very wrestling... it is deep, profound and shouts right to the inner cores of our souls.
15 reviews
April 16, 2009
this was the only book I willingly allowed in to a very bleak, dark time in life, and God used it to be gentle with me.
Profile Image for Rebekah.
1,201 reviews48 followers
September 23, 2011
As this is a devotional I plan to use the review space to record how God used this book to speak to me. ie what I've learned.
Profile Image for Kim.
26 reviews
June 10, 2012
Good perspective. Looking for opportunities or "windows" to see God in your day, in your years. Easy flow/appeal for the artistic.
Profile Image for Patty.
7 reviews
August 1, 2012
I love the way he writes!! I also love that I now know I am not the only one who can experience a word from God through a movie illustration. Soo good!!! I highly recommend this.
Profile Image for Délice.
145 reviews4 followers
May 3, 2017
This book was a revelation to me. A beautiful journey into understanding mystical moments everyone experiences and a profound insight into them. Wonderful. Great read for an artist...
Profile Image for Farzana Marie.
Author 4 books19 followers
January 3, 2014
Artful. Thought-provoking. One to return to again and again, dipping your spoon in anywhere for a taste.
Profile Image for susannah.
2 reviews9 followers
November 20, 2008
that God is everywhere if your eyes/ears are open to receiving from insight him.
Author 4 books4 followers
August 10, 2017
Windows of the Soul is one of my favorite books. I just reread it, and it was just as meaningful the second time through. Ken Gire writes of seeing God through the windows of life, including vocation, literature, art, wilderness experiences, poetry, movies and more. His stories resonate; his writing sings.

Although Gire graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary, he went through “wilderness years” before finding his niche as an author. His struggles tested his faith, but he came out richer for it—richer in faith and I believe richer in his craft. In this book he shares much of how God has touched him through everyday life.

For instance, Gire was at first unmoved by Van Gogh’s paintings. But he then learned the artist was once a preacher who could not relate well to people. Van Gogh struggled with depression that finally claimed his life. And as Gire discovered this dimension of the artist’s life, he came to appreciate and understand his art.

One of my favorite chapters, “Windows of Humanity,” shares Gire’s feelings as he watched a homeless woman drag a cart by a playground of happy schoolchildren. He saw a woman who had once been one of those happy little girls, and he captured the scene in a poem that takes you there. While Gire admits he did nothing to help this woman, he also tells the story of intervening when a man was beating his wife and how he encountered God through that experience.

On these pages you meet Gire’s wife and family. His writing is rich with imagery, yet practical in application—inspirational and insightful reading at its finest. You’ll get more out of the movies you see, the books you read, the walks you take, because Gire has opened your eyes to God in the world around us—if we only open our eyes to see Him.

After I read Windows of the Soul the first time, I was hooked on Gire’s writing and have since read several of his other books; all of them draw you into a more intimate relationship with Christ.

199 reviews7 followers
March 21, 2017
Terrific read. Gire's writing is very poetic in nature, and he writes in such a way as to stir your heart in many unexpected ways. His main premise is that things are happening all around us - each and every day - that provide "windows into one's soul." The key question we should ask of ourselves is, "are we paying attention to these moments?" Sometimes, these can come at very unexpected times, and in unexpected places. God can speak to us however and whenever he wants and all too often, we miss His presence because we try and script Him, or only look for answers (to our prayers) in the most obvious of ways and times/places, according to our finite minds. But, God being God, He often answers are prayers or speaks a word to us in the most unsuspecting manner. Our challenge, then, is to discover these moments and use them as a means to connect (or reconnect) with God and grow closer to Him -- ultimately trusting Him more to provide exactly what we need, and when we need it. Trusting in Him, through faith, to fulfill our deepest needs and desires should be the ultimate purpose of our lives; all too often, however, God IS in fact doing this but we miss it and fail to recognize that God is indeed at work.
43 reviews7 followers
February 8, 2022
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
From ‘Aurora Leigh’
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

For God speaks in one way and in another, yet no one notices. Job 33:14

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. Romans 1:20

Și, în toate lucrurile, să Te vedem pe Tine, și măreția Ta, și bunătatea Ta, și iubirea Ta...
Profile Image for Kelsey Bryant.
Author 31 books183 followers
May 20, 2023
This is one of my new favorite nonfiction books. It didn't take long to read, but many of the "windows of the soul" Gire writes about were so moving and relevant to me. He has a lyrical yet easy-to-read writing style, which suits the subject of the book perfectly. His insights helped me realize how I can hear from God within the experiences of my own life if I just have the eyes to see and ears to hear. This in turn causes me to draw closer to God and keep Him close throughout my day. It's already made an impact on my life and mindset within the week I read it, and I hope it will continue to do so.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Pelton.
Author 8 books
October 26, 2018
I love this book. I have owned it since a dear friend gave it to me shortly after it was published, and I dip into it often. This past summer I read it again. Ken Gire's transparency inspires and encourages me, and his writing is marvelous. His chapter "Windows of the Wilderness" all but saved my life when I first read it in early 1997.

This is one of my top choices for the proverbial "stranded on a desert island" scenario......
136 reviews
August 13, 2022
I actually read this over a long period of time, reading a chapter or two when I was between other books, or before going to sleep if I was troubled. I appreciate Gire’s own personal experiences describing the places and ways he saw God, and encouraging the reader to have open eyes, hearts, and minds.
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