The summer between 2nd and 3rd grade, we went on vacation to a week-long family program put on by Young Life. We had a great time hiking, horseback riding, rafting and stargazing in the mountains and there were special programs for kids and group activities like square dancing. One detail I remember is that I first learned about the concept of branding during that trip. I saw animals on the property with a fused YL brand and asked about it, learning that it is a way to demonstrate ownership of the animal.
At one of the kid sessions, we did a craft where we got to try out the branding iron. We each got a rectangle of wood and branded one side with the YL. On the other side, we copied this scripture:
“For you are not your own. You were bought for a price.” (1 Corinthians 6.19b-20a, NIV.)
You were bought. You are property. Salvation means indebtedness. Jesus died for you, therefore you owe him. Nothing you do can ever be good enough. You should feel guilty for doing what you want because your sin caused the crucifixion.
Looking at the passage in context, it speaks to bodily autonomy.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies” (Corinthians 6.18-20, NIV.)
You do not own your body. Someone else does. You do not decide what you do and do not want or what makes you comfortable and happy. You stay pure because God.
Abstinence, in the context of evangelical culture is not a real decision. It is a bounded choice, because if you make the “wrong” choice, you will become a used up piece of bubble gum.
This verse demonstrates my early understanding of bodily autonomy. I do not own my own body; I have already been branded. Just by existing and needing salvation, I belong to God. I do not own my yes or my no when it comes to my body. I am a temple. I an a passive object.