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Posted on Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 1:23 p.m.

Beer and the Bible: Finding God at the Tap Room in Ypsilanti

By Jessica Kerman


Members of the Metamorphosis Church pray while holding a Bible study session in the back of the Tap Room bar in downtown Ypsilanti on a recent Thursday night. Lon Horwedel |

With a beer to his left and iPhone in hand, Ben Hardy started reading the Bible aloud to a group of 11 people in the Tap Room.

Hardy is not a preacher or evangelist. He and his wife, Angie, are the leaders of Metamorphosis, a congregation of people who meet weekly in the downtown Ypsilanti bar to talk about God.

A discussion of faith leads to comparisons to Johnny Cash and Monopoly, and as Hardy kept reading, this week from Philippians, his Dark Horse beers kept coming to the table.

Khad (pronounced Chad) Young, founder of the church of sorts, calls himself an outlaw preacher. Young is the son of a Lutheran pastor, and he attended Lutheran schools his entire life. When he started college at Concordia University, he didn’t find himself “plugged in” to the activities on campus.

Inspired by Jay Bakker, son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Young set out to start a church he and his friends felt comfortable in.

Young and his friends would spend most of their evenings at a local Denny’srestaurant, so one day Young suggested they hold Bible study there.

“It became church for a lot of people coming,” he said. “We ended up pretty much taking over the smoking section.”

The group stopped meeting after several of its original members graduated. Young decided to start it back up this year, this time at the Tap Room.

“For anyone who has background in church, they call it a Bible study,” he said. “It’s a church for people who don’t want to go to church.”

Recently Young decided to move to Los Angeles, but the group will continue under the leadership of two regular members, Angie and Ben Hardy.

Angie Hardy, a teacher by day, said she and Ben were looking for a church for two years before they found Metamorphosis.

“The first time we came, we knew it was for us,” Ben Hardy said. “There were no expectations for who you should be and what you should look like.”

Without being asked, the server brings the table a basket of breadsticks and a glass of wine, and the group passes each around for communion.

“Why can’t Jesus be beer?” one member asks in jest.

After the hour-long service, the group continues with their meal.

“Churches have potlucks,” Young said. “We have beer and snacks.”

Some people might consider the group blasphemous. When asked, Young looks to the stories of Jesus in which he says he is called to help the sinners, not the religious leaders.

"I’m not trying to steal people from other churches," he said. I’m reaching out to people who wouldn’t go to church."


James Arthur

Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 9:45 p.m.

Great article.


Tue, Aug 11, 2009 : 6:29 a.m.

I love going to Metamorphosis. Its definitely one of the best things about my week. We are not trying to offend people with our worship at the bar, its merely a place to gather at. It makes me sad that some are becoming angry because of where we meet to pray, worship and learn about God. We are all true and sincere in what we do at Metamorphosis. Come join us one week and see.


Sun, Aug 9, 2009 : 3:44 p.m.

I posted over 50 quotes, with examples of contradicting statements, found in the bible and this forum removed them. I have had other posts removed from here, all without any reason. I insulted no one and offered a differing view. Enjoy your "Voice", I'm out of here.


Sun, Aug 9, 2009 : 10:27 a.m.

Yes, I believe that the Bible is without significant error. There are minor technical errors in the parallel stories. I have chellenged people to show me the errors. They have failed. I have seen some detailed analysis on this - and the errors are insignificant. Your agenda Namtar is against the Bible - so you will say there are errors - you are just parrotting what other claim.


Sun, Aug 9, 2009 : 9:08 a.m.

Scott, This statement isn't true, The Bible "...teaches abstinence from alcohol. Alcohol in any amount is a poison." Here is what your bible has to say on the subject. "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." 1 Timothy 5:23


Sun, Aug 9, 2009 : 8:59 a.m.

Does anyone still believe that the Bible is without error? How many errors do you think I can find? You will be suprised by the results.


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 8:33 p.m.

My brother, 51 years old passed away this year. He had an abiding relationship with Budweiser. Alcoholism is defined as someone who cannot take one drink - because they loose control of intake, and get drunk. My brother was an alcoholic. His only hope was to stop drinking period forever. Any one sitting down with him for any reason, and drinking one drink of alcohol with him encouraged his destructive path. And many people ignorantly did this. My brother had a shirt with Ben Franklins quote. I am glad to know it is a fraud. The Bible teaches sober-mindedness. It also teaches abstinence from alcohol. Alcohol in any amount is a poison. In the communion service, grape juice correctly represents the blood of Christ and unleavened bread correctly represents the body of Christ. Leaven represents sin. As I said before, keep studying the Bible! Good for you! Let it led you into the Joy of His salvation. Into the pure religion of Jesus.


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 8:08 p.m.

I say Praise the Lord whenever I hear of people reading the Bible together. Namtar is a very poor scientist. The Bible is a reliable database telling us God's acts in Human history - past, present, future. It contains the answer to ALL of Man's trouble on earth. Namtar extracts tiny bits of data in an effort to discredit.


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 1:28 p.m.

"Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." Psalms 137:9 NAB This doesn't sound like "Love" to me.


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 1:24 p.m.

"If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." Deuteronomy 22:28-29 This makes snese to you??? Do you agree with the logic of this statement?


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 11:22 a.m.

Namtar: the answer to that question is in the context of the verses that follow. Duet. 23:25-27 says- "But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her." The idea here is that being raped is in no way a sin. It is entirely the sin of the rapist. However, a girl in the city, as you mentioned, who does not try to prevent it (screaming) is participating in the sin of the extramarital sex and should be stoned with the rapist. This is also the idea of "a little yeast works through the dough...," of how unpunished sin will spread in the community, therefore it must be removed. It is specifically referring to an engaged woman, who would be responsible to try to prevent him and not participate in the sex when help is there. God doesn't blame women who are raped. In actuality, He deeply loves them and desires to show them their indescribable beauty and value!! God's heart is for them to be protected and cherished!! And to tell them how deeply and wonderfully He loves them.

Laura Bien

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 5:50 p.m.

tater, not to make a fuss about it, but that quote was debunked by Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar, who also bio'd Kissinger and Einstein. It's a pithy quote, but is not accurate.


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 5:21 p.m.

Indirectly, Namtar's post clarified what I like about this group. People who will publicly have a beer with their bible study are NOT the kind of Christians who will stone people to death. Beer, yes. Condemnation and killing, no. Let's start with that....or with that, and a beer.


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 11:34 a.m.

Could someone who attends ask this question. Is this moral? Yahweh orders the stoning death of a rape victim. "If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife." Deuteronomy 22:23-24


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 9:19 a.m.

I haven't been able to go since I started a Thursday night class, but I highly recommend it to anyone with an open heart and mind. Even if you are just curious, it has always been completely worth the trip and time!

Tom Henry Stefina

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 9:13 a.m.

I like the fact that they are trying to reach people who dont go to church!! Billy Graham is doing the same thing with rock concerts!! We gotta do what we gotta do to get the job done!!!


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 7:52 a.m.

Now we have intoxicated people learning the bible? What's more dangerous than Extreme Evangelical Christians? Intoxicated Extreme Evangelical Christians. I don't go to church and now I am gong to avoid the pubs as well, thanks for the warning.

Angela Smith

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 7:46 a.m.

Beer... Faith... good company... In the words of Julie Andrew's "These are a few of my favorite things"


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 4:26 a.m.

Someone wrote: "tater, the phrase you mention has an interesting background; you can read it here:" Interesting theory and research, but I'll stick with the quote in any of its versions. Besides, I borrowed and altered the quote in an original song called "Beer is Living Proof that God Loves Us," and it is a crowd-pleaser in which I sometimes get an entire bar to raise their glasses to toast Ben Franklin. Consequently, I'm not going to allow one researcher's failure to find the quote and his belief that it doesn't exist to change my enjoyment of the quote. For all I know, the researcher could be a "whack job," like the idiots who say we never landed on the moon. Instead of the "myth of the moon landing," we have the "myth of Ben Franklin and beer." Also, there is research indicating that many "details" of the life of Jesus are a myth based on that of the Egyptian God Horus, but I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone their belief on either side of the fence. Anyway, I'll raise one to Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, and pals this weekend. Maybe a few more than one. And thanks for the research; I'll probably tell a little story about this cyber-encounter when introducing the song a few times and see if it makes the cut as a "funny intro."

Laura Bien

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:13 p.m.

tater, the phrase you mention has an interesting background; you can read it here:


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:10 p.m.

I don't think they are taking communion lightly. Breadsticks and a glass of wine at a bar as opposed to stale saltine crackers and watered down grape juice at church? It's all about what is in your heart. I don't see a problem with having church at the bar. Some people may feel uncomfortable going to a church for various reasons. So why not take the church outside of those 4 walls to reach a different group of people?


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 2:38 p.m.

I'm all for people being led to a relationship with Christ, however, communion is not to be taken lightly. Don't know how I feel about breadsticks and a glass of wine at a bar to signify something as serious as the body and blood of Christ.


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 1:30 p.m.

As Ben Franklin said, "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper."


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 10:38 a.m.

Now there is a church with a "good head" on their beers...err shoulders...wonder if they pass the hat before or after a few brews! Great idea...sounds like they certainly don't try to get Jesus to fit into any box...I could find myself checking this out!!