The Sermon of the Galaxy, Kamuel Martek, 4.6.9856

Courtesy of Sweete187 on flickr.
Courtesy of Sweetie187.

Let us begin today with a prayer to Galaxia.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.
You are my sister in this universe.
You were born into the universe, like I was.
Your body will one day die, like mine will.
I am a part of you,
And though you are older, stronger and contain so much within you,
We are together.
Your dance is my dance.
Your music is my music.
My thoughts are your thoughts.
My art is your art.
Thank you for protecting me.
Thank you for holding me.
Thank you for showing me your beauty.
Thank you for offering me your bounty.
Thank you for helping me see the beauty within myself.
Thank you for accepting all I have to offer.
And thank you for asking the Holy Question:
What is beautiful about me?

I know many of you have traveled among the stars, and have seen Her vastness close at hand. Others have only seen Her from the moon. Her beauty surrounds us.

But why is She a “she”? Why not a “he”? Or an “it”? Why not a “zhe”? Why not “ste” as the Atmods do? Are we considering Her gender or Her sex? My question today is: what gender is Galaxia?

How is that determined, anyway? Has any of you seen if there is a penis? Is the Scar her womb?

(soft chuckle, pause) Of course not. We have many metaphors to sway the story one way or another.

For the answer, we’d have to ask the Earthlings, because it is from there writings that we call Her “she.”

It is why the popular texts stick with She. Tradition. But not all of us stick with tradition. A good friend of mine is a traditional man by many other counts. Some of you may know Near Perfect Felix Oort (pause for murmurs of recognition). That same Felix calls Galaxia a “He.” Not often in broadcasts, just to avoid confusion. But if you’ve ever had the fortune to experience one of his sermons, then you know he does it even within holy space.

Now, if we were the Ancient Earthlings, and my friend and I disagreed on so fundamental points as the very gender of this character in our favorite stories, do you know what would happen?

Yes, you know. We would argue. We would fight. I would be encouraged to decide between my friend and my spiritual community. Even if I resisted, the pressure and constant reminder would lead me to find rational reasons to choose one over the other. I might argue the stars are eggs, and he might argue they are sperm. I suspect that Felix, being a more clever man than I, would eventually win.

Now, don’t shake your head, if I grew up in their world, the early days of reason, it is very likely that I would not have the more compassionate opinions of our modern society. If I wanted to keep my friend, I would have no choice but to defy my community. I would have to risk my job, my family, and everything I grew up with. I may even have to move to a place that agrees with me, or at least is more accepting of my story.

But we do know better, don’t we? How tragic to be an Earthling and not see how much the stubborn arguments held us back. Most people believed that there stories were more truthful than the others, just because they liked it better. They liked the metaphors, the stories, the echo of Mother Sunya they heard inside.

And yet, many of our favorite spiritual beings come from these times. They preached calm and compassion, and the we used even those stories as an excuse to kill and murder, desperate attempts to reduce the fear that tomorrow we could die.

Very few of our ancestors saw these as stories. There was truth, which was the same as fact in those days, which was somehow more important than a story. And yet, they enjoyed stories of many of our saints regardless of their factual basis.

They told stories and shared teachings of Christ Jesus, Jedi Master Yoda, Lord Buddha, Mother Kali, Doctor Sagan, Prophet Mohammed, Captain Mal, Poet Blake, Citizen G’Kar and many more. They fought over the truth or untruth of these. Even some they knew to be untrue and were uplifted and inspired by them, and still they claimed that stories had to be true to be uplifting and inspiring.

I sometime wonder, how could they not see the simple truth right in front of them.

Facts don’t matter in stories. The only thing that matters is how we embrace them. How they inspire us. The only thing that matters is how we act. That is truth, my brothers and sisters. That is what turns stories into fact.

If I say, “Be kind to your neighbor,” that is not truth. That is an idea. A very short story with a clear moral.

If I ask you a question, “Are you kind to your neighbor?” I may get the truth. I will certainly get a story. You will tell me based on what you want me to think.

If I ask your neighbor a question, to find out if you are kind to them, ah, what will that perspective expose? They will tell me what they want me to think.

Unbeknownst to you, they may foster a dislike in their hearts for you, over a slight that you aren’t even aware of. Or they may foster a love, out of a kindness that was accidental.

Our stories do not tell us about the person we are. Only our actions do. It’s not just our kind words, that does not make Felix my friend. Just getting to know him, that does not form a love. The fact that we are both Near Perfects makes us colleagues, not necessarily friends. It is not just that we laugh at each others jokes, that is not enough in the hard times. My friend Felix and I don’t care that we disagree on the gender term for Galaxia, because we make each other laugh, we make each other think, we are honest when we are sad or angry, we have patience when we are not our best. When we ask each other questions, we answer with as much truth as we can and we forgive each other if we left out too much.

The reason I like thinking of Galaxia as a “She” is no better than the people of Ancient Earth. It is something I grew up with. When I came to the age of my baptism and chose to embrace the path of Questioning and Seeking, Her gender was one of the many things I had to question and requestion. I found no new logical insights to change, so it came down to preference. I liked the familiarity I grew up with. And also, I always thought of Galaxia as a sister. I only briefly had a sister, and thinking of her filled that sister role for me.

Felix found a different answer. I won’t go into too many details, but he said I could share this story, it’s one I heard him share. Felix had three parents who decided to be mothers. Two of them even carried him in their womb. Now, there’s nothing unusual about his family. But it explains why Felix never seriously considered what it would be like to have a father. Perhaps it was precisely why the idea of Galaxia as a male grabbed hold. He found that thinking of Galaxia as a “He” filled something he didn’t have a name for. Galaxia is a brother to him. A relationship unlike any other in his life. It could have easily been me. In fact, I have sisters, but no brothers.

And that’s what our stories do. They fill those spaces within us, spaces we didn’t even know where there until they became filled. Ancient Earthlings called this your myth space. The stories we choose and the way we choose to read them, the way we choose to live them, that’s what fills us.

So, today’s question: “What gender is Galaxia, and what story does that tell for me?”

After announcements, I will lead you in another prayer. Then a few songs, and we’ll break 2 ticks for refreshments. Those of you feeling at the limits of social after the songs, feel free to leave during the break. I encourage you all to meditate and discuss the question through the week. Those of you staying today, put your names down in the Witness book, and we will be happy to witness your answer to the question.

(Insert any announcements)

May you find compassion.

The Third Creation

In the beginning there was Mother Sunya and nothing else. There was no food. There was no hunger. There was no water. There was no thirst. There was no body. There was no disease. There was no death. There was no life. There was no light. There was no darkness. Just her thoughts.


She was alone. She grew afraid. She looked around. Nothing was there. She called out. Nothing answered. She felt around. Nothing had form. She thought, and that’s all there was.

Alone. Alone. Alone.

The fear grows and grows.

Alone. Alone. Alone.

The fear grows and grows.

She shed a tear – and she was no longer alone. Another could share her fear and sorrow.

Inside the tear was her First Creation.

Her tear was the First Creation. (courtesy of nigelhowe. Original.

The First Universe was afraid. The First Universe seemed alone for Mother Sunya is invisible to all things. She tried to comfort her companion, but the First Universe grew afraid by her presence that it could not see or touch, just an ache, a calling deep in the center.


Alone and afraid, the First Universe died.


Mother Sunya cried in grief. She did not let her sadness become new creations. She swallowed her tears. She held the lifeless form of the First Creation, and held it close.

Anger. Anger. Anger.

She held her grief closer.

Rage. Rage. Rage.

Her fury turned into action.

She would not create another to have it die alone. She swallowed her anger and created the Second with four universes inside so they would never be alone, and all were her children.

They saw each other and were happy. They played games together. They showed each other difference dances. But not even Mother Sunya can hide anger inside her. The Four Universes felt her anger. Their play turned into cruelty. Their dances turned into fights.


One by one, they killed each other as Mother Sunya watched, unsure if their cruelty was still play. Unsure if the fights might be dances.

Only when the Second Creation died, she knew they were not coming back.

Mother Sunya sulked alone. Loneliness is better than cruelty. Emptiness is better than death.


But with nothing else to think of, she only thought of the death and cruelty. In the silence she dreamed of forgiveness. The only escape was to try again, with love and compassion instead of anger and fear. She would create until she ran out of love.

Cry, cry again.

Love leads towards perfection.

Try, try again.

Mother Sunya created the Third.


In the Third Creation Mother Sunya created one universe and then four. She kept creating universes as long as she had love.

In all her children, her love shined back. Love helped them through fear and loneliness and anger and grief. Some played, some fought. Some created, some annihilated. Before she ran out of love, she saw the universes shine with their own love.

Atomic bonds, chemical reactions, emotional instinct, conscious thought, and more. Things clashed and broke apart, violent self-identity tearing apart before finding love for unity. Unity struggling to hold its form, then falling apart into love for liberty. Mother Sunya loved the complexity and seeing the same struggles in her children, she felt the love flow through her.

She still creates. She still loves. She watches for the day when her children become equals and can finally see her.

Religion Is Good, Important, and Necessary

After thousands of years we’ve established the following: Material things do not bring happiness. Violence doesn’t solve problems. Compassion and understanding can solve any problem. Knowing ourselves brings happiness and allows permanent self improvement. Prayer, meditation, and other similar techniques of ritual for being centered and communion with those eternal ideas (eternal as defined by things that keep appearing in all human beliefs, spiritual or secular) make all the previous steps easier, and have been shown to reduce stress and improve interpersonal relationships.

The problem is not “spiritual truths” or “spiritual evidence” being misleading or fractious. They’ve in fact been backed by scientific studies as we learn more and more about our species, from social psychology, anthropology, to mapping how the brain functions. Spiritual truths are scientific truths. And neither of them are truth.

The problem is the division between science and spirituality is false. It’s perpetrated by people in organizations that want to use spiritual practices for worldly gains and political maneuvers.

Spiritual truths are not the ones fought over in popular culture, the ones extremist groups are fighting through media and politics. And let’s be clear, the religions that get all the public attention, including views espoused by a small number of politicians, are extremist. Their world view must be correct and no others are welcome. That is extremist thinking.

Spiritual ideas are used to drum up support for wars, campaigns of hatred, murder and genocide, but this does not make spiritual ideas bad – any more than the United States’ “scientific” proof of the inferiority of non-whites, or Germany’s “scientific” proof of the superiority of the Aryan race, made their campaigns of genocide into evidence that science is bad. In both cases, it’s simply the politics of the few using whatever means in their grasp to convinces the rest of us to help them gain political and material power.

God dies for our sins, or gave us stone tablets of rules to follow, or has the head of an elephant and can hear all our prayers, are all just stories. They are stories that tell a poetry of the universe.

That doesn’t mean they are useless or false. Not all stories of just entertainment, or trifles and fancies. Some of them, many of them carry a truth to them, perhaps many. Truths like the strength of love, the importance of grief, ways to explore our dark sides without embracing them. Religions do this too. We have a wonderful tapestry of stories that taken together and learned about shows wonderful similarities and common ideas, and hopes of humanity. Not just now, but the best hopes and highest aspirations. And yes, stories of the worst fears and decadent revelries in violence of historical foes from ages before studied history, reaching back into the infancy of human consciousness. This is extremely valuable knowledge with a wealth to teach us.

The only problem is when the stories confused with reality. Science is just an attempt to examine reality and avoid the pitfalls of our limited understanding and magnificent capacity for ignorance. Spiritual stories demonstrate the importance of acting with compassion even when we think we have the answers given to us by science. Because we will never, ever, have the complete answers. There is always more to learn. Science is on the quest to learn it all. Spiritual stories tells the stories of the dangers and the joys of that quest to learn it all. Spiritual practice helps us navigate those dangers. It shows us the benefits of trying do this even though it’s impossible. There is infinite knowledge out there. A finite creature can’t reach infinity and so far we are finite creatures.

So far.

The Language of the Universe

God’s word has never been written down in our words. It’s never been written in English, Greek, or Latin. It has never been written in Sanskrit, Egyptian, or Sumerian. It has never been written in Russian or Chinese. No word of God has been written in Arabic or Japanese. Maori, Navajo, and Zulu have all tried to express it, but like attempts in every other language, humans words were never truly the word of God.

God’s words are too big for human words. We make up words and phrases to try and capture the ideas of eternity, infinity and perfection. But we can never express them. We do not have perfect words. No language is perfect. If it were otherwise, then we would all speak the same perfect language and have no need for any other except as curiousities.

Except in one way, we do have something that appears universal. The language of science: mathematics.

We do not know everything about math, but the constants are such that we can trust it with rigorous skepticism and experimentation. And when there’s a flaw, it is likely our fault in failing to understand it. And we encounter unknowns and confusing data, sometimes that lasts for centuries until someone comes along and looks at the problem in a new way, and sometimes they reveal a new form of math to explain it. When this happens, its a breakthrough. So many things that almost made sense become crystal clear. New sciences blossom with new mathematical tools. And then we find a new limit on understanding. New questions that are difficult to answer.

In this way, God’s word is written down. It is written in the stars. It is written in the gravity that hurls the Earth around the Sun. It is written in the mountains, the magma, the lava. It is written in the seas, the waves, and the clouds. God’s words are written in the trees, and flowers, and bees. It is written in the sap and blood and mucus and goo of life. God’s word is written in us.

By observing the world, by understanding everything about the universe, by understanding ourselves, we grow closer to understanding the eternity and perfection and whole of creation that we call God.

Science is not anti-religion. Science is one way we ask God questions and get an answer we can understand.