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The Grace Project

The Hex-Factor

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I've not been well this week and no before you ask it was not a case of man-flu! This was the real thing .  "Dr. Hayley's" orders were to rest, dose up on vitamin C and watch TV.  Several gallons of Ribena mixed with honey and lemons and countless hours of TV later I'm feeling a lot better.   Three programmes stood out, two documentaries and to my shame I've found myself dragged not exactly kicking and screaming into watching The X-Factor.  It has become the benchmark for car crash television. 
Trouble was already brewing for Judge Cheryl Cole when a Pussy Cat Doll sat in for her whilst she was away.  So good was the Pussy Cat (apparently) that puppet-master Simon Cowell is considering replacing our Cheryl with her permanently.  Then last week we were are plunged into the Gamugate controversy.   Cheryl did the unthinkable to anyone but the tone-deaf, she rejected a contestant called Gamu (one of the few entrants who could actually sing) in favour of two contestants, Katie and Cher who patently cannot or certainly did not in the audition.  
So outraged was the great British public that ITV has been swamped with complaints and our Cheryl even received death threats.   As for the rejected Gamu, she now faces the prospect of being ejected from the UK as it turns out that she's overstayed her visa.   So she faces being kicked-out by 'Big Brother' as it were.  I grimaced as one life after another was destroyed by the disappointment of being eliminated from the competition.  They got the Hex Factor. The allure of being famous however fleetingly in a world that thinks success and fame (however tawdry) are the one and the same thing, casts a spell over us in this Age of celebrity.   The winning is not just everything it is the only thing upon which our identity is based, be it a ghastly talent contest or any other endeavour has it seems bewitched us all.  No longer is it Art for art's sake it's I must win to feel good about myself for god's sake!   Sad really.   
And that leads me to the two documentaries.  The first was called - "Is Professionalism killing Sport?"   Err yes I thought to myself before the opening credits.  Anyway it was a good piece of journalism.  The pay off line was this: "We are teaching our children how to be professional but should we be teaching our professionals how to be kids?"   and that's the  Hex-Factor.  Take the joy away and make it all about winning.    The truth is that there are no losers once you get into the game. 
The documentary explored the dangers of 'winning is everything' mentality that has poisoned professional sport.  It is so rare these days to see someone competing with a smile on their face.   One fascinating contribution was from Manchester Utd's Ryan Giggs.  He has been playing at the highest level for 21 seasons and seems to some how be immune from so much of the nonsense that attends the EPL.   Asked about his longevity he cited giving up drinking alcohol and taking up yoga.   Whilst I'm not a yoga advocate I am a campaigner for learning to still ourselves long enough to be able to hear the knower within us that IS rather than the thinker wannabe that threatens to overrun us.  Giggs spoke about his most famous goal and said: "People always ask me what I was thinking about when I scored that goal, but I wasn't thinking about anything; I just picked up the ball and started running with it (I attach the link, it;s worth seeing, especially since it was against Arsenal LOL)   But don't miss the point - he didn't think!!!!!  he just was present in the moment.  
The next programme was entitled "Can We Win the World Cup?" Err, no!  I thought to myself.   A ruthless and timely bit of introspection in the wake of the South African debacle presenter Gary Lineaker interviewed amongst others José Mourinho  (The other self-appointed Special One, Simon Cowell being the other one) who said: "In Spain they teach the children how to play, in England you teach them how to compete!"   - Hmm well there's the thing that is the wretched Hex-Factor again rearing its ugly head.
Young kids who start out life playing football or singing simply because it's in them, it's who they are and they have fun doing it and then someone casts an evil spell of fame on them and what do you know the fun has gone and the joy has gone along with the innocence and simplicity and the supernaturally-natural ability to boot.   In its stead some sub-human, processed, manufactured automaton.   It is the same with Christianity.   We begin childlike and become childish.  We begin as free-spirits and then we become bound by rules and laws.   
The apostle Paul confronted the Galatians who'd been perverted into becoming professional Christians, professors of religion instead of possessors of Christ, expressers of His diving life: "Who has put a hex on you?" he demanded to know.   Now you know when you've got the Hex-Factor because you start to try and perfect in the flesh that which is already complete in the spirit. You do it to conform, to be accepted, to avoid rejection.  
Allow me to let Jürgen Klinsmann explain.  Speaking on the documentary about becoming the manger of the German national team he recalled how he got the squad together and asked them the question - Who are we?  Who are we as a nation?   He said being who we are might cost us some matches but we are who we are and the nation will not judge us for that.  
 Back in Spain their national side had been modelled on the template of Barcelona, for their part they had undergone the Cryuffisation of the club.  Built from the ground up on the beliefs of the Dutch maestro's free-flowing football.   No surprise then that when Spain played Holland in the World Cup Final Cryuff when asked who he wanted to win said “Spain, a replica of Barca, is the best publicity for football. Who am I supporting? I am Dutch but I support the football that Spain is playing.”
Then he said "Let's be who we are - let's just build our philosophy of football on who we are. Let what we do come naturally out of who we are and finally break a hex and discover that you are THE X-FACTOR