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Maggie Nelson, discussing an interview given by Pema Chödtön:

I’m riveted by this formulation, “the environment was safe, but the teachings were threatening,” as it names a paradox at the heart of much intellectual and artistic creation and pedagogy, one especially relevant for those of us who have devoted much of our lives to the contemplation and creation of transgressive work, as well as to supporting and respecting students. You can work to make a safe environment, but if the teachings at hand are meant to rattle, people are going to feel rattled.

I’d like to reflect on this more in my own teaching. It seems to me that this describes (or should describe) what it is to teach Christian theology, particularly in the context of higher education. It seems to me the commitments and practices of Christianity destabilize the commitments and practices most students enter my classroom with; they probably destabilize the commitments and practices they are taught by many other professors, too.