The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the country, is facing criticism for posting a prayer to "Mother God" on its social media pages, flouting several thousand years of tradition in which God is addressed in male form.
The prayer, posted Tuesday, asked "Mother God" to "raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness."
The post received significant numbers of negative comments, as well as pushback from other individuals and publications. Conservative Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene urged Christians to "leave the ELCA."
The group "Exposing the ELCA," meanwhile, said the linguistic novelty employed by the church "is not just a one time thing."
"It has been happening for awhile," the group said.