We were pleased to welcome a reporter from the Washington City Paper to our Sabbath evening worship last week. Your reporter clearly enjoyed our food and music, whereas the prayer experience itself, as well as my sermon, fared poorly in his rating (Service Industry, 9/2), meriting only two-and-a-half stars.
The City Paper sent a young, inexperienced journalist to cover a worship service of a religion of which he has no knowledge, conducted largely in a foreign language (Hebrew) that is read in the opposite direction from English (right to left). All of this was obviously totally unfamiliar to him. Additionally, the sermon that evening dealt with the theology and ritual practice of a specific prayer in the service. Small wonder that he had difficulty understanding it. The reporter, as well as your readers, would certainly have been better served by asking the worshippers present that evening how they found the service, prayer book, or sermon rather than attempting any evaluation of his own.
The journalist was in over his head and not equipped for the assignment. It was like sending a non-English-speaker with no familiarity with English literature, even in translation, to review a performance of Shakespeare on a London stage. The City Paper can do better.
Perhaps you might even reconsider the entire Service Industry review structure, which seems more suited to evaluating a baseball team than a religious worship service.