I started my university teaching career at St. Mary’s College, the University of St. Andrews in the Department of Divinity. This was quickly followed with a move to the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, where I taught in the Department of Religious and Theological Studies of Westhill College. I eventually became head of the Department in 1995. Since Westhill College was largely, though not exclusively, devoted to teacher training I developed an interest in religious education as it is provided in British schools. My own teaching, however, was generally in the area of Modern Theology, Philosophical Theology, Christian Ethics, Philosophy of Religion with additional courses on the Introduction to Christian Theology and Human Self-Understanding. I joined the Department of Theology and Religion of the University of Birmingham in 2001.
I have never thought of theology as merely abstract speculation but as a subject that arises out of the practicalities of life. As a consequence theology is a form of reflection that attempts to make sense of our religious lives with a view to being a rational influence on our life’s character and direction. For this reason I have immersed myself in such activities as: the City of Birmingham’s Standing Advisory Council of Religious Education, which eventually led me to draft the City’s 2007 Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education; the Faiths for the City Initiative which seeks to foster collaboration between the University, the City’s Faith Leaders Group and with representatives of the City Council and other bodies of the City; and more recently, in the attempts to develop a Museum of World Religions in order to foster good inter-religious relations and to educate the wider public in and about religious life.