The opportunity to engage with the matter of gratitude from a theological perspective came about through Dr. Jack Templeton’s desire to honor the memory of his father, Sir John Templeton, the centenary of whose birth fell in 2012. The coincidence of Dr. Templeton’s ambition with the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II led to conversation between the Templeton Foundation and a group of British scholars, the outcome of which was the establishment of The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham.
The Jubilee Centre is engaged in research and development over an initial period of ten years, with the intention of contributing to the renewal of British character and virtues in the context of the family, education, and the professions. Its website offers a great deal of material for reflection and practical relevance: www.jubileecentre.ac.uk.
I have discussed the subject of this book with a very large number of people during my professional life. Latterly, James Arthur, the director of the Jubilee Centre, and its members have been important— most particularly, Professor Kristjan Kristjansson, whose friendship and interest has been most insightful.
Unsurprisingly, family and friends have been an inspiration whenever I have been daunted by the task as it unfolded. Humor may not figure as one of the major virtues per se, but it certainly plays a major role when things get tough.