Tomorrow, I get to go listen to one of my favorite authors speak at Southland Christian Church with two of my favorite people (Dana and Jenna)!

I remember reading Donald Miller‘s first book before it was cool. In the summer of 2004, I packed Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance in my gym bag (with six other books) and headed out to Arizona with a friend for an adventure.

Miller is a very conversational writer, and perhaps his tone is what made me feel like I was taking his road trip with him. But I couldn’t help drawing parallels between his journey and my own — all the way through my first trip to the Grand Canyon. (You have to read it to understand.)

Now, this same book is called Through Painted Deserts, and has become so popular that I don’t know if there is one literate American who calls himself a non-denominational Christian under the age of 30 who hasn’t at least considered quoting it on his facebook page. And I know that tomorrow while I listen to Miller speak at the mega church, I’ll be lucky if I can even make out his facial expressions.

Still, I admire the man as a Christian, a writer, and an artist. I’d say I even admire him as a leader, but I don’t know if he would like that very much.