Writing at the intersection of progressive religion, sociology, ethics, and social justice; writing to support human flourishing and ease human suffering
Thanks for visiting my website!
I’m Amanda Udis-Kessler. I write about progressive religion, systemic inequality, ethics, and creativity, among other things. I also develop and offer antiracism/anti-oppression trainings, and I strive to introduce people to the liberatory capabilities of sociology. (Additionally, I compose progressive sacred music, but that’s a subject for another website).
This is a strange mix of interests and projects – I know that. I believe, however, that they all hang together in an important way. My writing, training, and music-making all arises from the same goal, my life’s work as I understand it:
TO SUPPORT HUMAN FLOURISHING AND EASE HUMAN SUFFERING
That’s it. It’s that simple. And that complicated.
Supporting flourishing and easing suffering can involve helping people better understand how forms of systemic inequality (racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc.) work and how to struggle against them more effectively. It can involve re-envisioning ethics to ground it in human experiences and needs. It can involve developing insights and toolkits for anyone who wants to be more creative. It can involve contributing to progressive religious movements and institutions with the goal of making them as inclusive and beautiful as possible.
Supporting flourishing and easing suffering can also involve working at the intersections of these different areas: progressive religious ethics informed by sociology, justice-driven sacred music that names and challenges inequality, the application of creativity to all of these other areas.
Why Do This Complicated Work?
Because I want other people to get to experience the joy I’ve been blessed to experience.
And because I want to spare other people some of the pain I’ve had to experience.
That last point needs a little more context. My life as a queer, feminist, leftist, androgynous woman has had some challenges, difficulties, and – let’s just say it – suffering that it did not need to have and should not have had. Those challenges and difficulties, that suffering, largely came down to sexism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, and other ways in which some kinds of people are valued more than others. Systemic inequality leads to systemic – and avoidable – suffering. The world should not be that way.
I write and create in order to do my part in making a world in which every single person is valued and in which every single person values others, so that every single person has a real chance to have a good life. Such a world would have a lot more joy and a lot less pain, a lot more gratefulness and a lot less hatefulness, a lot more ease and a lot less struggle.
To this end, my writing includes two types of material: books that are available for sale and other writings (essays, chapters, liturgy, music) that are available for free. You can find the free writings on the Free Resources tab of this website. You can find the free music on my music website https://queersacredmusic.com.
Thanks for reading, and all blessings to you.
Links to My Book Projects
In keeping with my commitment to flourishing, I am donating half of my royalties for Abundant Lives to One Nation Walking Together, an organization that supports Native Americans in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, in perpetuity. Your purchase of this book will thus help Native American communities across almost a quarter of the continental US.