Beautiful Scars: A Conversation with Lauran Bethell, Part Two

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender continues a four-part conversation with Lauran Bethell, Coordinator and Leadership Team Chair for the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP). Lauran and Dan pick up their conversation right where they left off, so be sure to listen to last week’s episode first. Here, Lauran shares how she first stepped into the work of advocating for women in sex trafficking.

Lauran : “If there had been writing on the wall, it could not have been any clearer.”

Just a few years after Lauran began this work, there were five major Christian organizations addressing sex trafficking around the world. “We watched the movement exponentially grow,” says Lauran . She often hears people lamenting that the problem is getting worse and worse, but she replies that, no, it has always been there. “Now we’re just shining a light on it.”

Lauran : “This is not a quick fix. It’s all about relationships, it’s all about the depth of relationships, and staying the course for years and years and years. […] Unless you commit your life to it, just forget it.”

Dan: “You have to give yourself over to the process in order for the beauty to be created.”

Dan and Lauran talk about the nature of calling, and what it means to know in the deepest parts of your core that you are being called to—and that you cannot turn away from—a particular work. For Dan, that means he cannot escape addressing the issues of sexual abuse. “Wherever I go, whatever I do, wherever I speak, eventually the issues of trauma and abuse will be addressed,” he says.

Dan: “Once you know what your heart has been drawn to engage, then you’ve got that sense of, you’re in. You’re in for a lifetime. That may take some people a while to know that their heart is captured, but once you know, you’re a goner. There’s nothing like it.”

Toward the end of this episode, Dan and Lauran open the conversation to questions, which lead them back to the topic of beauty. Dan talks about how the chaos and disharmony that is often found in beauty, even though it makes many of us uncomfortable. We are too often afraid to embrace an aesthetic of beauty that is open to brokenness, scars, and the reality of the crucifixion—more on that next week as this conversation continues.

Dan: “You must find beautiful people, and beautiful people are dangerous. […] Beauty is dangerous. It disrupts.”