David Lynch is not frequently mentioned in the same sentence as Saint Paul the Apostle. But both Lynch and St. Paul end up earnestly articulating the message of Jesus in a way their audiences can understand and embrace. While Paul preached around the Roman empire, Lynch spoke to viewers of prime-time TV. He gives us what’s arguably the best articulation of Christianity ever to air on CBS. Watch what would certainly be St. Paul’s favorite scene from town of Twin Peaks here.
See what I mean? And this from the guy who, in Blue Velvet, puts together one of the creepiest opening montages in film history. (If you haven’t seen Blue Velvet, or even if you have, Siskel & Ebert’s must-watch synopsis and review can be found here. Blue Velvet’s plot begins in a manicured suburban neighborhood where an all-American teenager stumbles across an ant-infested ear. Lynch starts the film there, because, more than anything, he wants to show us the startling and unexpected parts of peoples’ lives. (Severed ears, of course, being as unexpected as parts get).
In St. Paul’s favorite scene from Twin Peaks, however, it’s the unexpected presence of Gandhi that startles. We’re shocked (in a good way) by Special Agent Albert Rosenfeld’s proclamation that the best response to violence is love. Lynch uses his knack for the unexpected to remind us of love’s radical demands. Agent Rosenfeld’s own urgent words almost directly echo those of St. Paul while reminding the Christians in Corinth just what they had signed up for.
Lynch, the master of the bizarre, ends up being a Christian evangelist. It’s not just the owls that aren’t what they seem.
P.S. If you don’t remember (or never knew) just how deeply Twin Peaks penetrated pop culture, check out this bit from Sesame Street.